Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The 36 Strategies: #23 Make allies at a distance, attack nearby

Second only to the Art of War, by Sun Zi (Sun Tsu), The 36 Strategies is the most widely know book on the topic. The 36 Strategies is a set of 36 maxims, from which strategic thinking is taught. It behooves us to learn strategy, if only to recognize when someone is attempting to use a strategy on us, out of defense.

Below is #23.

23. Make allies at a distance, attack nearby

When you are more vulnerable to those close by than you are to those far away, you can defend yourself by keeping those around you off balance, in the meantime cutting off their field of maneuver by securing a broader ring of alliances surrounding them.

There is a bit of the yin yang aspect here. Fight your nearby enemies by making allies at a distance. Consider the positin of Great Britain during WWII after their army had been run off of the continent of Europe by Germany.

Their distant ally, the US, allowed them to rearm. The US opened another front in Africa, and then Italy, which split the Germany forces.

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