I am thrilled to acknowledge that President Trump is obviously a student of mine. His understanding of not telling the enemy anything is absolutely correct and essential. Compare the words in his Afghanistan speech of not telling the enemy anything about his plans, with the following paragraphs from my version of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
“You will be unsuccessful in your endeavors if you have forewarned the enemy, and by being unable to take over with previously failed methods, you may have inspired their anger. They will now fight with more conviction to stop you, and your troops will suffer losses regardless of your apparent strength. You must attack with ferocity and fanatical enthusiasm if you are to succeed. You will have to convince your troops that the enemy has been unreasonable and, therefore, must be stopped at any cost.
It does not matter that you may appear to be able to overwhelm the enemy or that your detractors will attempt to deride you publicly. You must still be prepared, and your generals must understand and believe your plans will succeed, and that they are sympathetic to your thinking, or you will suffer their ambivalence. If their hearts and minds are not with you, they will not be authoritative when they pass your orders to their captains.
In like manner, you must maintain a patriotic mentality on all levels of negotiations with the enemy. The enemy must be convinced that your untold plans are better for them than his are for himself or his people, and he must be made to see this. And, he will, if you have adequately approached his advisors. Your personal belief must be strong enough for his generals to understand and believe your intent. These truths must be in place if you are to avoid a physical war, which might come about later, but not if you have effectively weakened his troops, morally and spiritually.”
© SFKaufman 2017
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