The Art of Strategy

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Skill, subtlety, mystery, imagination, flexibility, intelligence and depth. Qualities a man looks for in a woman? Perhaps. They are also the ingredients for a winning strategy in war, as expounded by the Chinese Masters two thousand years ago. In its methods and tactics

Skill, subtlety, mystery, imagination, flexibility, intelligence and depth. Qualities a man looks for in a woman? Perhaps. They are also the ingredients for a winning strategy in war, as expounded by the Chinese Masters two thousand years ago. In its methods and tactics

unleashed on Palestinians so far, Israel appears to not even have agreed on a basic shopping list, let alone grasp the essentials.

unleashed on Palestinians so far, Israel appears to not even have agreed on a basic shopping list, let alone grasp the essentials.

 

If one of the ultimate goals in the Art of Strategy is to reach a point when opponents cannot exhaust you – because they cannot read you it would seem that opponents have advanced to new lessons. While Israels military counsellors fall back on tried and tested means of turning their country into an open book.

If one of the ultimate goals in the Art of Strategy is to reach a point when opponents cannot exhaust you – because they cannot read you it would seem that opponents have advanced to new lessons. While Israels military counsellors fall back on tried and tested means of turning their country into an open book.

 

One mothers voice raised to God, recently quoted in a Haaretz article, speaks volumes. In her pleas to understand, lie part of the problem and part of the answer. “Why are they

One mothers voice raised to God, recently quoted in a Haaretz article, speaks volumes. In her pleas to understand, lie part of the problem and part of the answer. “Why are they

pursuing Fatah people now? Why is it that if we throw stones, they bomb the wh ole area with

helicopters? Why, what material are they made of? Why should these children be orphans?

Where are human rights?” There are no good answers to these good questions that will put out the fire seeking revenge, because Israels actions tell their own story. And the tale they tell, is that leaders across the board have no clear, intelligent or coherent strategy. “Security” is not a strategy. It is a slogan used by those seeking political power who have no strategy, an empty term meant to instill more fear in the hearts of voters. The Peace Process, as it has been pursued, is not a strategy. Because as both sides would agree to differing extents, there is definitely a process, but not one heralding peace. Individual survival and collective punishment, pouring fuel on the fire of another cause, is not a strategy.

Where are human rights?” There are no good answers to these good questions that will put out the fire seeking revenge, because Israels actions tell their own story. And the tale they tell, is that leaders across the board have no clear, intelligent or coherent strategy. “Security” is not a strategy. It is a slogan used by those seeking political power who have no strategy, an empty term meant to instill more fear in the hearts of voters. The Peace Process, as it has been pursued, is not a strategy. Because as both sides would agree to differing extents, there is definitely a process, but not one heralding peace. Individual survival and collective punishment, pouring fuel on the fire of another cause, is not a strategy.

 

So what is a strategy?

Flashback, to Lebanon. Why did Israel quit South Lebanon after 22 years without a regional security pact to defend its northern border? If defense of Israels northern border against irrational and unrestrained enemies, was the reason Israel invaded and stayed put then 250 young lives and 22 years were worth the sacrifice. If the advancement of careers and widening of the circle of control, through brutality and intimidation, was the reason for occupying another peoples land and lives then the price became too high. Israeli soldiers came to voice their acceptance of the fact that the reason they were being targeted and killed, was because they were there.

Flashback, to Lebanon. Why did Israel quit South Lebanon after 22 years without a regional security pact to defend its northern border? If defense of Israels northern border against irrational and unrestrained enemies, was the reason Israel invaded and stayed put then 250 young lives and 22 years were worth the sacrifice. If the advancement of careers and widening of the circle of control, through brutality and intimidation, was the reason for occupying another peoples land and lives then the price became too high. Israeli soldiers came to voice their acceptance of the fact that the reason they were being targeted and killed, was because they were there.

 

Hizbullah had a strategy. Liberation of the land from occupying soldiers and the affliction of their rule, by proxy and direct. The goal was clear, the means to obtain it patient, flexible and effective. In the Territories, Palestinian militiamen have stated similar aims. Israel knows its opponents goal. But do Israelis know and agree upon what they want? Unless there is collective understanding of the goal and the price, witness the one-eyed lead the blind to an unintended destiny.

Hizbullah had a strategy. Liberation of the land from occupying soldiers and the affliction of their rule, by proxy and direct. The goal was clear, the means to obtain it patient, flexible and effective. In the Territories, Palestinian militiamen have stated similar aims. Israel knows its opponents goal. But do Israelis know and agree upon what they want? Unless there is collective understanding of the goal and the price, witness the one-eyed lead the blind to an unintended destiny.

 

Battles are won through the force of momentum working for your side. They are not won by individuals. Israel is working for the Palestinian force of momentum. Because in the face of a much weaker enemy and low-level hostilities, leaders felt it necessary to showcase the deadly edge of blunt force and escalate confrontations. The Art of War says attack their gaps and defend with fullness. Where Israel cannot find or fathom strategic gaps, it attacks a people in their neighborhoods, in demonstrations, in daily routines and in their homes. Sometimes state agents will attack without provocation, on suspicion of malice or dislike of attitude. This is called pre-emptive attack. Attack – before one day, this person, his brother, his sister or their cousin – comes to attack and kill you. But before Israel divines the intent of so many potential targets, it might be wise to seek first to defend with fullness.

Battles are won through the force of momentum working for your side. They are not won by individuals. Israel is working for the Palestinian force of momentum. Because in the face of a much weaker enemy and low-level hostilities, leaders felt it necessary to showcase the deadly edge of blunt force and escalate confrontations. The Art of War says attack their gaps and defend with fullness. Where Israel cannot find or fathom strategic gaps, it attacks a people in their neighborhoods, in demonstrations, in daily routines and in their homes. Sometimes state agents will attack without provocation, on suspicion of malice or dislike of attitude. This is called pre-emptive attack. Attack – before one day, this person, his brother, his sister or their cousin – comes to attack and kill you. But before Israel divines the intent of so many potential targets, it might be wise to seek first to defend with fullness.

 

Where is this fullness

? Have Military thinkers recently asked themselves the uncomfortable question of why there exists an undercurrent of reluctance to serve in Lebanon, or to serve in the Territories? Not refusal of the many, not overt disobedience – but a growing reluctance in todays war generation. Generals might say theyre too busy sipping cappuccinos, or dreaming of start-up millions – theyve lost their nerve and the taste of hunger. But young soldiers are no less hungry, no less daring, than their peers in the past. They may well reply that its not their courage that is failing – but honest leadership and a just cause.

 

While Israel advertises its weaknesses in indiscriminate, disproportionate and blunt force – the enemy can focus on these to formulate its own strategy. The more divided the interests, the

While Israel advertises its weaknesses in indiscriminate, disproportionate and blunt force – the enemy can focus on these to formulate its own strategy. The more divided the interests, the

thinner the frontline, the more spread out your soldiers – the more the weak can determine the time and place of battle and tilt an imbalanced playing field. Their small squads versus your small squads. When the opponent is formless, soldiers must always be alert, which wears down morale and nerves; when you lack courage that comes from a cause in which you are convinced – because if you had that, youd already be ahead; when theres no consensus to

thinner the frontline, the more spread out your soldiers – the more the weak can determine the time and place of battle and tilt an imbalanced playing field. Their small squads versus your small squads. When the opponent is formless, soldiers must always be alert, which wears down morale and nerves; when you lack courage that comes from a cause in which you are convinced – because if you had that, youd already be ahead; when theres no consensus to

risk the lives of the many for what the many say, is the cause of few its time to heed the warning of Master Guan: “Go forth armed without determining strategy, and you will destroy yourself in battle.

risk the lives of the many for what the many say, is the cause of few its time to heed the warning of Master Guan: “Go forth armed without determining strategy, and you will destroy yourself in battle.

 

If leaders have no vision that sees a forest beyond the surrounding trees, then the people must devise and agree upon their own strategy. Lebanon taught a valuable lesson, one that is being ignored. The strong cannot use all of their strength. The weak can use all their strength. There lies all the difference. Strength of numbers and weapons creates an illusion upon which a state may build its confidence. You cannot defeat the weak on their own ground – in a war of attrition. Before desperation increases to new levels, it should be clear by now that military repression of a people is self-defeating. The more Palestinian martyrs Israel creates in the Territories, the more it destroys its foundations.

If leaders have no vision that sees a forest beyond the surrounding trees, then the people must devise and agree upon their own strategy. Lebanon taught a valuable lesson, one that is being ignored. The strong cannot use all of their strength. The weak can use all their strength. There lies all the difference. Strength of numbers and weapons creates an illusion upon which a state may build its confidence. You cannot defeat the weak on their own ground – in a war of attrition. Before desperation increases to new levels, it should be clear by now that military repression of a people is self-defeating. The more Palestinian martyrs Israel creates in the Territories, the more it destroys its foundations.

 

For now, Israelis have options. They should review those options before the actions of their leaders create a situation where they no longer have options. Before the acrimony on the

For now, Israelis have options. They should review those options before the actions of their leaders create a situation where they no longer have options. Before the acrimony on the

Palestinian side reaches the point of no return, in hardened realities.

Palestinian side reaches the point of no return, in hardened realities.

 

If you assassinate their leaders, leaders can be replaced (as Israel knows well enough.) The Palestinian militia is not a regular army and the young grow old fast in the Territories. Many

If you assassinate their leaders, leaders can be replaced (as Israel knows well enough.) The Palestinian militia is not a regular army and the young grow old fast in the Territories. Many

have experience in the struggle and are qualified to lead. If you bomb homes and buildings, these can be rebuilt, from the rubble with which you provide fresh stones for proud slingshots and the venting of human identity. Israelis need to ask themselves, what do they fight for? Do

they fight for freedom, faith and identity? Because these are the high stakes for which Palestinians fight. The Art of Strategy, which is the essence of the Art of War, counsels intelligence. It advises, do what your enemy least expects you to do.

 

What Palestinians most expect, is more arrogance. The last thing they expect is a moderate and strategic Israel. Confuse them.

Because right now, the confusion and uncertainty are on your side. The State is acting in character. The majority of its citizens are acting in character, as experience of 22 years in Lebanon demonstrated before Intifada 2000. This majority was never morally opposed to the War in Lebanon, and if they were, this was never made clear. When Palestinians dont know whether youre for real, or whether this is a set-up for an ambush they cannot read, Israel will regain a degree of lost initiative. By being very cool, by assassinating no leaders, by bombing no civilian neighborhoods, by killing no stone throwers

Because right now, the confusion and uncertainty are on your side. The State is acting in character. The majority of its citizens are acting in character, as experience of 22 years in Lebanon demonstrated before Intifada 2000. This majority was never morally opposed to the War in Lebanon, and if they were, this was never made clear. When Palestinians dont know whether youre for real, or whether this is a set-up for an ambush they cannot read, Israel will regain a degree of lost initiative. By being very cool, by assassinating no leaders, by bombing no civilian neighborhoods, by killing no stone throwers

Israel will start to write the rules and redirect the wind guiding anothers sails. Israel may even succeed in dividing Palestinian opinion, which its force has so masterfully united. Otherwise, witness the fallout of deja -vu policies. Israel was mortally wounded in Lebanon –not with a single strike , not even by a comparable military force – but by bleeding from a thousand cuts. Hizbullahs leadership was the first to admit the group paid a heavy price for victory. More than a thousand Hizbullah fighters,

Israel will start to write the rules and redirect the wind guiding anothers sails. Israel may even succeed in dividing Palestinian opinion, which its force has so masterfully united. Otherwise, witness the fallout of deja -vu policies. Israel was mortally wounded in Lebanon –not with a single strike , not even by a comparable military force – but by bleeding from a thousand cuts. Hizbullahs leadership was the first to admit the group paid a heavy price for victory. More than a thousand Hizbullah fighters,

not counting the many thousands of

Lebanese civilians

, paid with their lives in the struggle to expel occupying forces. The campaign of resistance saw ups and downs, hardships and setbacks, but the point is – there was never a doubt as to their resolve to fight however long, however hard.

 

What Israelis should know if they dont already, is that Palestinians are claiming the same resolve. Only time will tell, but the majority see themselves as having little to lose and their cause is long and deep enough. Israelis must show the same resolve to sacrifice and to

What Israelis should know if they dont already, is that Palestinians are claiming the same resolve. Only time will tell, but the majority see themselves as having little to lose and their cause is long and deep enough. Israelis must show the same resolve to sacrifice and to

struggle, if they stand a chance – not of victory , but of stalemate. As yet, there is no united public consensus to die for the Territories. This why the country lacks leadership, and a coherent strategy. If Israelis are willing to fight to the death to keep contested control of a land

struggle, if they stand a chance – not of victory , but of stalemate. As yet, there is no united public consensus to die for the Territories. This why the country lacks leadership, and a coherent strategy. If Israelis are willing to fight to the death to keep contested control of a land

that will always be populated, they should prepare themselves for all outcomes. If they are not willing, they should give their neighbours full and just independence, while they still have the freedom and option to do so. Not when their policies humiliate them into a corner to do so.

that will always be populated, they should prepare themselves for all outcomes. If they are not willing, they should give their neighbours full and just independence, while they still have the freedom and option to do so. Not when their policies humiliate them into a corner to do so.

These neighbours have long deserved meaningful independence, humanity and respect all of which are lacking.

These neighbours have long deserved meaningful independence, humanity and respect all of which are lacking.

 

The Art of War says land that would be advantageous to you if you got it and to opponents if they got it, is called ground of contention. This is ground from which Master Sun Tzu says – a few could overcome the many and the weak could strike the powerful.

The Art of War says land that would be advantageous to you if you got it and to opponents if they got it, is called ground of contention. This is ground from which Master Sun Tzu says – a few could overcome the many and the weak could strike the powerful.

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