Battleland

Why President Obama Should Study Sun Tzu

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While President Obama worries about appeasing Israel and Jewish votes at home, as well as being pressured by the neocons to support threats of an Israeli attack on Iran, the government of Israel beavers away as usual, creating new facts on the ground in the occupied territories.

Here (portions of which are quoted below) is an editorial in Ha’aretz, one of Israel’s leading newspapers, describing one way the Israeli government continues to plant seeds for the eventual cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem and the West Bank by exploiting the paralysis it created in what is absurdly known as the “peace process.”

Without peace talks, Israel must leave East Jerusalem alone

Discussions on Jerusalem were postponed to a later stage of the final-status negotiations, but it was never agreed that this interlude be exploited to create facts on the ground.

Ha’aretz Editorial, 7 December 2011

As the diplomatic process has sunk deeper into hibernation, acts whose sole purpose is to tighten Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem have multiplied. Thus even as the Palestinians have given the Quartet a proposal on security arrangements and permanent borders in the West Bank, Israel is advancing proposals to change the master plans of neighborhoods over the Green Line.As the diplomatic process has sunk deeper into hibernation, acts whose sole purpose is to tighten Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem have multiplied. Thus even as the Palestinians have given the Quartet a proposal on security arrangements and permanent borders in the West Bank, Israel is advancing proposals to change the master plans of neighborhoods over the Green Line.

…   All this activity in East Jerusalem is being accompanied by claims that throw sand in the public’s eyes. A good example is … The King’s Garden plan, which entails demolishing 22 houses to create a new tourist attraction, is similarly wrapped in a veil of innocence. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat claims that the plan benefits Palestinian residents because it includes granting permits to 66 illegal buildings in the neighborhood. But Barkat is presumably aware of the tensions in this neighborhood due to the ongoing effort by right-wing organizations to “Judaize” the Old City and its environs. …

At the Israeli government’s request, discussions on Jerusalem have been postponed to a later stage of the final-status negotiations. But at no point was it ever agreed that this interlude should be exploited to create facts on the ground and exacerbate tensions.

If the President thinks doing is more important than being, which I doubt, he ought to study Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, particularly the passages on Cheng and Ch’i operations, with the goal of determining who is being played for the sucker. [1]

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[1] My favorite translations of Sun Tzu’s classic are Thomas Cleary’s for a political/phlosophical orientation and Samuel B. Griffith’s for a military orientation.  Readers interested in a modern application of Sun Tzu’s ideas, and especially the art of using Cheng and Ch’i operations to unravel an adversary’s decision cycle, will find them embedded throughout Col. John Boyd’s seminal study of conflict, A Discourse on Winning and Losing, especially Patterns of Conflict and The Strategic Game.

1 comments
suntzuartofpeace
suntzuartofpeace

Military "takes" on Sun Tzu (actually the book's proper name is Ping-fa) got the message completely wrong. Written in a military metaphor( for pedagogical reasons) the book is about anything but war. It is in fact about managing events without conflict. Here's the only researched and documented study on this famous work

http://www.slideshare.net/ShibumiMC/asst-press-release-01-2013


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