The Philosophy of War


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A cursory comparison & contrast between the classics of Sun tzu & Niccolo Machiavelli of the same title -- The Art of War. Is there a philosophy behind the act of war?

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The Philosophy of War

  1. 1. Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum?
  2. 2.  War is Integral In  War is a Philosophy! Human History  Like all other It’s More than An Act philosophies,  For Survival understanding it  For Self-Defence helps to understand  For Self-Promotion human nature,  For Gain purpose & ideals  Is It Universal?
  4. 4. SUN TZU: 722–481 BC? MACHIAVELLI 1469-1527 Served the Emperor of  Served the Medici of Wu Florence Bing Fa, 403–221 BC?  Dellarte della guerra, Multiple Authorship, 1520 Sun Bin his grandson  Single Author Similar to an  Similar to a Socratic Aristotelian Manual Dialogue by Plato
  5. 5. FLORENTINEWARRING STATES RENAISSANCE Opportunity to Unite  Dependence on Fragmented Kingdoms Condotieri Mercenaries Educate Generals Who  Cultivate Local Army Will Recruit, Trained in the Discipline & Lead Tradition of Roman Field Officers & Legions Soldiers  Influenced Napoleon Influenced Mao tse Bonaparte, Carl Von tung & Ho Chih Minh Clausewitz
  6. 6.  Use of Aphorisms & Anecdotes Zoom Perspectives: Strategic (Macro/Campaign) & Tactical (Micro/Battles) All Is Fair in War but only to the Victor Peace is still the ideal, just as long as it isn’t the peace of our grave but those of the enemy. Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.
  7. 7. THIRTEEN CHAPTERS SEVEN BOOKS I. The Calculations  Preface II. The Challenge  First Book III. The Plan of Attack IV. Positioning  Second Book V. Directing  Third Book VI. Illusion and Reality  Fourth Book VII. Engaging The Force  Fifth Book VIII. The Nine Variations IX. Moving The Force  Sixth Book X. Situational Positioning  Seventh Book XI. The Nine Situations  Appendix XII. The Fiery Attack XIII. The Use of Intelligence
  8. 8. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: The art of war is of  Knowing how to fight vital importance to the made men more bold, State. It is a matter of because no one fears life and death, a road doing what it seems to either to safety or to him he has learned to ruin do. Therefore, the ancients wanted their citizens to be trained in every warlike action.
  9. 9. POLITICAL PSYCHOLOGY ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY Mandate  Minutes Motives  Methods Message  Means Manpower  Money
  10. 10.  Victory = Destiny. Right Is Might Rhetoric of Justice & Virtue Call for Sacrifice; Command & Control Leadership Displays Sincerity & Consistency
  11. 11. SUN TZU SAYS MACHIAVELLI SAYS Confront your people  A battle that you win with annihilation, and cancels any other bad they will then survive; action of yours. In the plunge them into a same way, by losing deadly situation, and one, all the good things they will then live. When people fall into worked by you before danger, they are then become vain. able to strive for victory.
  12. 12.  Expound on Rhetoric vs. Hide the Ulterior Sovereign & Subjects Must Be In Harmony Clear “Official” Purpose:  Defence from Hostility;  Advantageous Enforcement of Treaty;  Conquest Right Understanding of the Enemy  Neither underestimate nor overestimate
  13. 13. SUN TZU: MACHIAVELLI: For the nation to perceive  Necessities can be the advantage of many, but the one that defeating the enemy, is stronger is that they must also have their which constrains you rewards. to win or to die. One bushel of the enemys provisions is  Since the handling of worth twenty of our arms is a beautiful own ... taking the spectacle, it is enemys wealth is a delightful to young matter of reward. men.
  14. 14.  Machinery; Technology; Logistics; Materials Build & Preserve a Position of Advantage Efficiency & Effectiveness Are Measures of Value Commandeer the Enemy’s Resources &/or Destroy Them
  15. 15. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: A nation can be  What benefits the impoverished by the enemy harms you & army when it has to what benefits you supply the army at harms the enemy. great distances ... Therefore, a wise  It is better to defeat the general will strive to enemy by hunger than feed off the enemy. by steel. Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
  16. 16.  Spend You Own Funds Sparingly; Steal When There Is Opportunity Use What Is Readily Available Than to Wait For What You Need Pass On the Cost to the Vanquished: Sequestration; Reparations & Ransom
  17. 17. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: He who wishes to fight  Present wars impoverish the must first count the cost. lords that win as much as Many calculations lead to those that lose. victory, & few calculations  Men, steel, money & bread to defeat: how much more are the sinews of war; but of no calculations at all? these four, the first two are When you plunder the more necessary, for men countryside, divide the and steel find money and wealth among your troops; bread, but money and bread when you expand your do not find men and steel. territory, divide up and  War makes thieves, and hold places of advantage. peace hangs them.
  18. 18.  Schedules , Timetables & Past Records Swiftness & Economy Determine Victory Delays & Protracted Wars Are Technical Defeats Learn from History Or Commit the Same, If Not Worse, Mistakes
  19. 19. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: Whoever is first in the  New & speedy things field and awaits the frighten armies, while coming of the enemy, the customary and slow will be fresh for the things are esteemed fight; whoever is little by them: second in the field and  Good captains never has to hasten to battle come to an engagement will arrive exhausted unless necessity When doing battle, compels them, or the seek a quick victory. opportunity calls them.
  20. 20.  Movements; Formations Wars Are Fought Using Illusion Surprise The Enemy & Be Unpredictable Discipline Is Essential to Overcome Limits
  21. 21. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: Strategy without tactics  In war, discipline can do is the slowest route to more than fury. victory. Tactics without  To know in war how to strategy is the noise recognize an opportunity before defeat. and seize it is better than anything else. Warfare is the Way of  There is nothing as likely deception. to succeed as what the enemy believes you cannot attempt.
  22. 22.  Officers; Rank & File Discipline & Morale Begins with the Leader Use Your Casualties to Inspire; Kill Deserters If You Can’t Befriend the Enemy, Make Them Fear You
  23. 23. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: The general who advances  Nature creates few men without coveting fame & brave; industry and training retreats without fearing make many. disgrace, whose only thought  When soldiers are confined is to protect his country & do good service for his to their quarters, they are sovereign, is the jewel of the kept there by fear or kingdom. punishment; then when they are led by war, through Regard your soldiers as your hope and reward. children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys.  The forces of adversaries Look on them as your own are more diminished by the beloved sons, and they will loss of those who flee than stand by you even unto of those who are killed. death!
  24. 24.  Know Yourself & the Enemy but Keep Your Cards Close to Your Chest. Do not Rely on Luck, Signs & Superstitions, except for Propaganda Plant Information That Is Irrelevant, Confusing or, Better Still, Deceiving to the Enemy Correct Reconnaissance & Espionage Is the Most Valuable Resource
  25. 25. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: Generally, commanding of  Act so your enemies do not many is like commanding of know how you want to a few. It is a matter of organize your army for battle, dividing them into groups ... and in whatever way you of communications through organize them, arrange it so flags and pennants. that the first line can be What enables the enlightened received by the second and rulers and good generals to by the third conquer the enemy at every  Never lead your soldiers to move and achieve battle if you have not first extraordinary success is confirmed their spirit and foreknowledge ... obtained known them to be without from people who have fear and ordered; and never knowledge of the enemys test them except when you situation. see that they hope to win.
  26. 26. SUN TZU SAYS: MACHIAVELLI SAYS: Generally in warfare,  ... if a King does not organize keeping a nation intact is himself in such a way that his best, destroying a nation infantry in time of peace are second best; keeping an content to return to their homes army intact is best, & live from the practice of their destroying an army second best ... own professions ... for there is not to be found a more Therefore, to gain a hundred victories in a dangerous infantry ...who hundred battles is not the make the waging of war their highest excellence; to profession; for you are forced subjugate the enemys army to make war always, or pay without doing battle is the them always, or to risk the highest of excellence danger that they take away the Kingdom from you.
  27. 27.  What is Hell? What Is Heaven? What is War? What Is Peace? Peace Is Not the Absence of War but Understanding One’s Violent Nature & Appropriately Responding to It
  28. 28.  A Young Tribal Chief’s Dilemma of Warriorship & Sageliness The epitome of the internal conflict of pursuing serenity or satisfaction The personal choice of which to feed & nurture
  29. 29.  Knowing when, why & how you  prove your superiority ...  assert your will & lifestyle ...  exploit another’s weakness ...  deal with a threat ... ... means you have a philosophy of war. Know it well & know how to find peace as well.