Romance of the Three Kingdoms (ii) - Cao Cao

In the previous post, line 108 of the ROTK story, Cao Cao presented the rare demonstration of rationality in Chinese history (albeit ROTK's account is largely fictional).
  • He said, "I took some risk in going so far, but by good fortune I have succeeded. With the aid of Heaven I have secured victory. I could not be guided by your advice, but still they were counsels of safety, and therefore I reward you to prove my appreciation of advice and that hereafter you may not fear to speak your minds."
  • 操回至易州,重赏先曾谏者, 因谓众将曰:“孤前者乘危远征,侥幸成功。虽得胜,天所佑也,不可以为法。诸 君之谏,乃万安之计,是以相赏。后勿难言。”
Pragmatism and results are important in practice. But only rationality brings us to consistent winning track in the long term, whether it is the game of bridge or in statecraft. Despite winning the war, Cao recognized the luck factor and was able to learn by reflecting on the risk involved.

If Dubya demonstrates his courage by admitting his mistakes in Iraq. Would he be praised or laughed at? If China's leaders have the courage to face the events 17 years ago, would they be praised or greeted with "instability and unrest"?

It seems we all have some lessons to learn from Cao Cao, who lived 1800 years ago, or to Luo Guanzhong (the author of ROTK who made up this story) 500 years before us.

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