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23.1.18

Trump And The Art Of War

"All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. "

For those familiar with Sun Tzu"s "The Art of War," those words are very familiar. They comprise part of the "bible" of warfare that have withstood thousands of years as solid advice to leaders. The treatise is 13 chapters long and offers solid counsel to anyone involved in head-to-head combat, and that includes the negotiating table. I have personally applied these rules in negotiations with great success.

Keeping those words in mind, and remembering that they are just the opening of a much longer treatise, calmly and dispassionately examine the past year of Donald Trump's presidency. If you do not invest your emotions into this, you will see that he is clearly employing this strategy.

Being undeniably a successful businessman, it is a very safe bet that he has read and absorbed Sun Tzu, and most likely Machiavelli as well. A close examination of his methods and persona lead me to conclude that he is following at least these two playbooks to the letter.

Anyone who has studied martial arts, particularly those of Asia, know that Sun Tzu is required reading. The tenets of his book work on any scale, whether one-on-one, or nation-against-nation. A combatant who has the moral authority will feign weakness and draw his opponent out of their safe zone. At that point, it is a simple matter to cut them off from retreat and utterly defeat them.

If you have been studying Trump's techniques, he has done exactly this. In his ongoing battle with the media, he sets a hook, the media bite, and he reels them in. It's almost embarrassing how simple it is to defeat the media at every turn.

Trump makes what appears to be a gaff of some kind. For example, let's take the "shit hole" controversy. Trump knows, as I do, that they way those blow-dried puffballs talk off-camera is every bit as bad - if not worse - than what Trump is reported to have said. The media, in their rush to try to strike the fatal blow, have extended far past their safe zones, and if you are watching closely, the killing blow is already coming - but from Trump's side, not the media's. Keep in mind when you read the following link that it is coming from Russia, the supposed enemy of Trump [https://www.rt.com/usa/415834-trump-critics-hypocricy-russia-remarks/].

Trump's enemies are playing into a classic trap. Trump knows that victory in war comes through deception. He has not achieved the things he has across four decades without having a keen sense of warfare. He has survived bankruptcies and scandalous divorces, yet everything he touches turns to gold. He is obviously a master at turning lemons into lemonaide.

The Killdeer bird will flop around on the ground and pretend to have a broken wing to draw predators away from their nests. If this doesn't describe Trump to a "T" then nothing can. Trump uses his weaknesses as lures to distract the attention of his opponents in order to slam the trap shut on them as soon as they venture out of their holes. When one looks at Trump's candidacy and presidency dispassionately, one perceives a long list of victories that used his weaknesses (shooting off his mouth for one) as lures to distract from his real intentions.

One doesn't have to like Trump to respect his masterful skill and technique in - pardon the pun - trumping his enemies. Tom Cruise is a complete jerk, but that doesn't stop us from being entertained by his films. One does, however, have to respect the fact that Trump is a formidable opponent. One places one's self in mortal jeopardy by underestimating Trump's abilities.

Trump studied the political environment in the United States. As a television star, he learned the inner workings of the mass media. As a real estate magnate, he mastered the art of negotiation. As a marketeer, he understood the art of turning weaknesses into benefits. He is no fool. More to the point, all the talk of "fire and fury" and "mental incompetence" only plays into his strategy. He wants his opponents to think he is feeble and weak, so when the trap slams shut, they will be a stunned as they are defeated.

The Left in the US have invested everything in emotional appeal, and that is the easiest thing to exploit. Howling at the sky and mindless chanting reveals just how devoid that movement is of mental acuity and reason. It makes them incredibly easy to defeat, and Trump is utilizing this to his continued benefit.

If you hate Trump, then the only way to fight is to study his tactics and fight accordingly. If you love Trump, then you must study and adopt the same strategies. Either way, mindless fighting or following only plays into his hands. He is a cold, calculating strategist, and a brilliant one at that.

Study Sun Tzu and you will find the key to opposing or supporting him. Putin has done this, and that makes him a viable opponent or supporter of Trump. I suspect that Putin has studied Trump's strategies and is playing into them, whether by collusion or not. Xi has done the same thing, which makes sense since Xi has undoubtedly studied Sun Tzu.

There is a grand game of deception afoot in the international arena, and I suspect that Trump is sending signals without actually communicating verbally, since surveillance is a very real and dangerous threat. Trump is behaving in certain ways that tell Putin and Xi that he understands the game and knows how to play it at master's level. Whether Putin and Xi are acting in concert or opposition is a matter of interpretation, but to my mind, they know what is going on and can read the tea leaves, as it were.

The thinking man or woman will immediately flip over and refresh themselves on Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. Love or hate Trump, or any other political figure, it is wise to analyze their strategies and techniques. You cannot oppose or support someone without being completely in synch with their movements. Even if you are complete agnostic on these matters, understanding how the game is being played makes it much more entertaining.

One key assumption is missing in much of the US Left thinking - if one can call it that. They assume, or at least have convinced themselves, that Trump is an idiot. NEVER underestimate your opponent. If you assume he is stronger than you and you are wrong, you win. If you assume he is weaker than you, you lose. Simple fact that has withstood the test of time.

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