Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Art of War

The patterns in the way nations fight reflect their cultural and historical traditions. These are deeply rooted attitudes that collectively make up their strategic culture.
The Asian way of war was described by some British historian as one of the indirect attacks, avoiding frontal attacks. This traces back to Asian history and geography; the great distances and harsh terrain have often made it difficult to execute the sort of open field clashes allowed by the terrains of Europe.
Bow and arrow were extensively used in Asia. The arrow is an indirect weapon, fired from a distance of hundreds of yards. Thus it can be fired from hidden positions and takes the enemy by surprise.
In the Sun-Tzu and other Chinese writings, the highest achievement of arms is to defeat an adversary without fighting. Actual combat is just one among many means towards the goal of subduing an adversary. War contains too many surprises to be a first resort. It can lead to ruinous losses, as has been seen time and again.
Sun-Tzu advocated war only after most thought preparations. The army is just an instrument to deal the final blow to an enemy already weakened by isolation, poor morale and disunity. The unwitting victim, focussed on the day-to-day events, never realises what’s happening to him until it’s too late. I believe this is a better way to approach war when compared to the horrible steps nations are taking nowadays.