701. “When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.”
— Sun Tzu
702. “Carefully study the well-being of your men, and do not overtax them. Concentrate your energy and hoard your strength. Keep your army continually on the move, and devise unfathomable plans.”
703. “This does not mean that the enemy is to be allowed to escape. The object is to make him believe that there is a road to safety, and thus prevent his fighting with the courage of despair. After that, you may crush him.”
704. “Hence the experienced soldier, once in motion, is never bewildered; once he has broken camp, he is never at a loss.”
705. “One who has few must prepare against the enemy; one who has many makes the enemy prepare against him.”
706. “Those who do not know the plans of competitors cannot prepare alliances. Those who do not know the lay of the land cannot maneuver their forces. Those who do not use local guides cannot take advantage of the ground.”
707. “The control of large numbers is possible, and like unto that of small numbers, if we subdivide them.”
708. “From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, you may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, then, return being impossible, disaster will ensue.”
709. “To maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.”
710. “Who can determine where one ends and the other begins?”
711. “With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up.”
712. “Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation.”
713. “Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals.”
714. “When orders are consistently trustworthy and observed, the relationship of a commander with his troops is satisfactory.”
715. “Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.”
716. “Thus the skilful general conducts his army just as though he were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by the hand.”
717. “Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.”
718. “The supreme excellence is not to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles. The supreme excellence is to subdue the armies of your enemies without having to fight them.”
719. “To perceive victory when it is known to all is not really skilful. Everyone calls victory in battle good, but it is not really good.”
720. “According to my assessment, even if you have many more troops than others, how can that help you to victory?”
721. “As water shapes its flow in accordance with the ground, so an army manages its victory in accordance with the situation of the enemy.”
722. “War is a matter of vital importance to the state.”
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