Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

10 War Strategies for Peace

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Winning strategies can be helpful to us as individuals in surviving an often dog-eat-dog world as well as nationally in both the US and Israel to help shape our military and diplomatic strategy as we confront an increasingly hostile world, including Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, as well as terrorist organizations from Hamas to Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and more.

Adaptive concealment, deception, falsehood, and diversionary tactics have been used by various military forces throughout history. During the American Civil War, the Confederate Army used camouflage to conceal its positions from Union forces. In World War II, the German Army used camouflage nets to protect their tanks. In the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong used tunnels and underground bunkers to hide their movements. Deception tactics include tricking the Trojans into opening their gates, using “Operation Blacklist” to convince Germany to attack at a different location, and engaging in deceptions and counter-deceptions during the Cold War. Falsehoods, such as the Bush administration’s claims of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine, have also been used. Diversionary tactics, such as the Battle of Gettysburg and the Japanese’s attack on the Aleutian Islands, have also been employed.

During the Holocaust, the Ghost Army, a US Army tactical deception unit, misled Hitler’s forces about Allied forces’ size and location, allowing other units to maneuver.

Recently, I read a book called How To Win by Eva Wong that presented 36 ancient strategies for winning a conflict that are based on Chinese history, culture, and renowned military philosophers like Sun Tzu.

While many of these strategies are familiar, I cherry-picked the ones that I thought were the best, aggregated others, and provided a summation of those.

Here are the top 10 clever strategies:

  1. Surprise attack: Ambush or attack an opponent when and where they least expect it and hit soft spots rather than a direct frontal attack (“backdoor strategy”).
  2. Feigning a false attack: Use a diversion to conceal the direction of the true attack (“make sounds in the east and strike in the west strategy”).
  3. Luring the enemy into the open: Never attack the enemy in their fortress where the defender has a six-to-one advantage; rather, bait the enemy into the open where they are vulnerable (“lure the tiger out of the mountain lair strategy”).
  4. Trapping an enemy: Use friendly overtures up to and including giving up something of less value to gain a larger victory or even sexual enticement to lure an enemy into a trap (“hide a knife behind a smile strategy”).
  5. Degrading the opponent’s strength: Instead of fighting head-on with force, whittle down an opponent’s underlying resources and strength (“remove the firewood from under the cauldron”) up to and including eliminating the enemy’s leadership (i.e., decapitation attack).
  6. Divide and conquer: Using the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, use carrots and sticks to break up alliances, get your rivals to weaken or destroy each other (“borrowed-knives strategy”), and conquer the individual parties.
  7. Using scare tactics: Make a lot of noise, use smoke and mirrors, and feign attacks to create fear in the opponent (“stomp on the grass and scare the snake strategy”).
  8. Bluffing: Use deception to either make yourself appear stronger than you are (“put false blossoms on the tree”) or to play dead by making your opponent think you are either stupid or insane.
  9. Disinformation: Give the enemy false information to deceive them (“counterespionage strategy”), up to and including using self-inflicted injury to lull them into complacency.
  10. Retreat: When all else fails, it is okay to temporarily retreat (“running strategy”) and “live to fight another day.”

Of course, we may not win every battle, but we need to make sure that we win the war. Strategy and tactics, along with plenty of investment, planning, technology, training, and execution, are the way to win.

Ultimately, peace is the goal, but to get there, we must be ever vigilant, smart, and strong, and maintain our faith in the Almighty.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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