Monday, May 12, 2014

Pambazuka - How to win a war without a fight

What is being taught in military academies? Are you comfortably seated? I am going to take you on a virtual tour of strategic studies at a military academy. We will study the Ukrainian crisis based on a strategic studies textbook that is widely used for the training of the Russian and Chinese military, but also in a number of business schools across the world.

The book is called the Art of War, written by the Chinese strategist and tactician Sun Tzu (544-496 B.C.). The central principle of Sun Tzu’s model of military strategy is to use cunning to bring the enemy to lay down his weapons and surrender before the battle has even begun. In other words, according to Sun Tzu, the best military strategist is he who wins the war without having to fight, simply by using cunning, bluff and timely disinformation to confuse the enemy, giving him false hope at the start of hostilities only to completely disillusion him in the end.

Let us take the Ukrainian crisis as a case study, as is done in military academies. We will use the ten main strategies recommended by Sun Tzu to win a war without fighting, in order to find out who, in Ukraine, has the best chance of winning the current showdown between the United States of America and Russia.

1. 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.’ Once you have identified the enemy’s plan you must constantly, in doing battle, give an impression that belies the bellicose attitude he expects from you in the circumstances. Thus, your counter-offensive must be invisible; you must know how to lie and above all give the enemy no chance to understand you or figure out your true reaction to his warlike intentions, of which you must always feign ignorance.

In this case, the objective of the West is to proceed from an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union to the adhesion pure and simple of Ukraine to the EU. But above all, it is to secure Ukraine’s adhesion to NATO in order to cut it off completely from Russia, the lease of the naval base of Sevastopol in Crimea to the Russian navy would thus not be renewed, depriving Russia of her rapid deployment capability in the Mediterranean in the event of a war with NATO, as in the recent intimidation operations in Syrian ports, when President Hollande advocated bombing the country, and in Egyptian ports following Morsi’s ouster, when the USA threatened to cut military supplies to Egypt.

President Yanukovych, Moscow’s man, feigned ignorance of the harmful consequences of signing the association agreements – and stopped at the last minute. That is when the West came into play, inventing a popular revolution. The Euronews television claimed that according to an intercepted conversation between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the 88 deaths on Independence Square were the work not of President Yanukovych but of the opposition paramilitary, backed by the members of the coalition currently in power in Kiev, in order to deal a fatal blow to a presidency that is hostile to the European Union and to NATO.

But how can they be so sure of it? This is what Euronews had to say on the subject : One or more of the snipers who fired on the militants on Euromaidan had occupied the headquarters of the National Bank of Ukraine in Kiev. There, investigators discovered spent casings corresponding to the bullets found in the bodies of the victims. Moreover, these were the same bullets that were used to attack the riot police and the opposition protestors. In all: 88 dead.

Russia looks on, aware of what is happening, invisible, inaudible, absent – and does not intervene. What it wants is to take back the entire Crimean Peninsula, but without a fight. How to achieve this? It is the West that will help her by playing a game of chess, without taking into account the pawns of the opponent, who is also playing, but secretly. And now, it is Sun Tzu’s second strategy that enlightens us regarding President Putin’s behaviour in this crisis.

Complete story at - Pambazuka - How to win a war without a fight

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