Sun Tze: "supreme excellence is winning the war without fighting" - there's no point stocking weapons

Sun Tze said, (Chapter 3) "...Hence to fight and win in every single battles with 100% stat is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence is winning the war without fighting (是故百战百胜,非善之善者也;不战而屈人之兵,善之善者也)"

  • The best modern example of winning a war without going into fighting is the cold war between US vs USSR post-1975, credit to the Nixon-(Carter?)-Reagan administration. Nixon's famous ping-pong diplomacy and Reagan's Star War Arms Race
  • An earlier "close example", albeit controversial and not really a non-fighting war, was the dropping of the A-bomb on 60 years ago.

"The next best strategies in order are: (1)intelligent maneuvers, (2)diplomacy, (3)fighting in the field, (4)besiege the city. Besiege the city ONLY when you have exhausted all other options." (故上兵伐谋,其次伐交,其次伐兵,其下攻城。攻城之法,为不得已。) (1) and (2) are among the major means to achieve the supreme objective of "winning without going to war"

Many politicians in Taiwan knows that. I suspect that includes Mr Chen Shui Bian himself, as he has been doing more or less what Lee Tenghui had done while he was in presidency. So are many in the opposition parties in Taiwan. They know that buying $15bn of weapons cannot prevent a war nor win a war with the mainland. And these weapons are getting obsolete almost as fast as our laptops. What's the point?

(This applies to mainland China as well, as they wisely chosen to
focusing on learning the technology, instead of building an arsenal. Meanwhile,
they tried to lay low to avoid any potential international conflict.)

Unfortunately, the supposedly brilliant Wall Street Journal editors seem unable to understand this. Or maybe they do, but someone paid them to say something they do not personally believe. WSJ Op-ed Aug 24 attacked Taiwan's democracy, blaming its Legislative Yuan for blocking the $15bn arms purchase from US, reminding me of China's Foreign Ministry "demanding" US Congress to reverse the Unocal vote. Apparently many people do not understand democracy. Then it said, in an 'optimistic' tone,

  • "The good news is that recent Pentagon report on China's military has put opponents on the defensive by highlighting how Taiwan risks "being quickly overwhelmed" by Beijing's rapidly modernizing forces."

Oh, that is what's behind the China Military Report, to sell more arms ($15bn) to Taiwan (and to the US DoD). And there won't be price negotiation. Because "US [approved the sales] by taking some diplomatic risk". Lucky for Taiwanese people, they have a democracy now, and they are beginning to use their brains. WSJ hoped Ma Ying-jeou would support the arms purchase, but failed to mentioned that Lien Chan probably opposed the purchase because of his voter told him to do so. I hope Ma is not that stupid. At the end of the day (next decade), it would be the peopleo both sides of the strait who would win this "war", when they embrace democracy, if the rulers could just hold on to status quo and wait.

As for the WSJ op-ed, yesterday they had proposed another "brilliant strategy" against Iran, to bar them from playing in the FIFA World Cup, as discussed by Brad Sester. ROFLMAO.

(Updated Aug 29)

  • Kishore Mahbubani in his recent essay on Foriegn Affairs, "China today is like a dragon that, waking up after centuries of slumber, suddenly realizes many nations have been trampling on its tail. With all that has happened to it over the past 200 years, China could be forgiven for awakening as an angry nation, and yet Beijing has declared that it will rise peacefully. This good disposition stems partly from China's awareness that it is relatively weak. But it is also a sign that Beijing has endorsed the vision of progress that the United States has extolled since World War II. States no longer need to pursue military conquest to prosper, the theory goes; trade and economic integration pave a surer path to growth. And Beijing has noted how much adhering to this philosophy helped Japan and Germany emerge from the ruins of World War II."

(Updated Sep 2)

  • Ma Ying-jeou said (in a foreign press interview), the arms purchase is not only a price issue (noting the price tag has more than doubled since it was first proposed in 2001). He mention the priority is to avoid an arms race between the strait. -- Finally someone who makes sense.
  • Ma further criticized the DPP governement for playing fire on one hand (create excuse for mainland intervention), and fire hydrant on the other (arm purchase at elevated price)


Sun Bin said...

If you are laughing at WSJ's op-ed, there is someone who really have no clue about the reality in China. I am talking about Pfaff's hallucination over Falungong in IHT (via simonworld). (To be fair, Pfaff started with a plausible conclusion and his other essays are much more insightful)

Sun Bin said...

The view from Taiwan said,
"Hence, overall, I support the purchase because the US must be placated and Taiwan needs the US. It is a shame, however, that the deal does not address Taiwan's real defense needs"

well, IMHO the defense need is to avoid a war. and beijing promised no war if status quo maintained

Sun Bin said...

via meizhongtai, 'Implying that Taiwan is under the protection of the US, Lee Tenghui said it was necessary to procure arms from the US,
"You can't take a bus without paying for it," he said.

big mouth, but he is straight and tells the truth some times.