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Eureka: The Art of War
by Jay Gutman
2016-12-03 12:10:46
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This article is an addendum to Admiral Sun Tzu’s masterpiece of how to wage war and how to train soldiers.

1. On the wellbeing of society

To train good soldiers, society must be stable at four levels: at the emotional level, at the level of the personal lives of citizens, at the organizational level, and when it comes to teaching and learning how to get tasks done.

war01_400_02A society that is not emotionally stable, where emotions such as anger, frustration, depression or contempt run high means a society that will produce reckless soldiers who can’t stay calm on the battleground. A society that produces emotional bullies and abusers will not be able to cooperate on the battlefield, nor will it communicate effectively. When looking at enemy lines, look for emotional stability signs as psychological welfare tends to weaken societies emotionally, thus such societies have less propensity to cooperate on the battlefield.

A society where people have chaotic private and personal lives does not produce good soldiers. A society with high divorce rates, a propensity to gamble, one with family problems, one with financial problems or one where people have trouble finding employment and housing is a society that produces reckless soldiers. The first thing soldiers fight for is to protect their homes and their earnings, soldiers with heavy debt or collapsed family structures tend to give up fighting quickly.

A society needs to have long-term predictable organizational plans to produce successful soldiers. Rules need to be clear, need to change predictably and progressively and need to be known by society. A society with no clearly defined rules, where ordinary citizens rather than professional judges are the ones who judge, societies where the rule of law does not exist, where the rules of the game change based on whims rather than social surveys are societies that can not train good soldiers. Barracks are places with clear, predictable rules and so is war, and a society where the rules change all the time can not produce good soldiers.

A society where parents, family, friends and teachers do a poor job at teaching people how to get tasks done is a society that can not function in the army. Most armies provide recruits training before sending them on the battlefield to apply that training. Societies that do not successfully teach tasks produce soldiers who can not learn how to get tasks done.

2. Social strategy

Four social trends produce poor soldiers: love relationships, academic inflation, the lottery and high-paying entry-level or part-time jobs.

All three social trends provide distracted soldiers, and soldiers who want to escape and would rather strive economically than put on a good fight.

Teenagers are often idealistic about love and relationships be it within the same sex or with the opposite sex. When young recruits are in stable relationships, they tend to focus on building their nests and starting families rather than putting on a good fight. 

Inflating academic grades at school provides the same effect. Soldiers are accustomed to being rewarded for good behavior and studies even when such is not the case. This leads to soldiers being hopeful that they will succeed academically, and to soldiers being hopeful that they can succeed outside military life.

Having societies where the lottery is a legitimate way of hoping to strike it rich is a society where soldiers would rather be on the ground hoping to achieve the dream of winning the lottery. The lottery includes buying winning lottery tickets, playing dice, money machines or other forms of gambling that promise high jackpot earnings, or having an entertainment industry that promises a select number of “stars” to win the jackpot. Soldiers who dream of winning the lottery often think of the lottery as an alternative to military service, and often do not feel comfortable with the modest meals and lifestyle that the barracks provide.

High-paying entry level jobs or high-paying part-time jobs provide the same effect. Soldiers would rather be working as cashiers or waiters than be in the barracks because such jobs provide a comfortable lifestyle including high-end meals, comfortable housing and other luxuries in life.

These four tenets provide high incentives for soldiers to dodge the military or to defect. Many will dodge by feigning mental illness, illness or insanity, while others will move to a different country or will go in hiding so they can have the comfortable lifestyle, perhaps even adopt a fake identity so they can dodge the military. Parents in such societies tend to give birth to soldiers in countries where citizenship is granted, thus relieving soldiers of military duty.

3. Financial and economic strategy

Four financial strategies make poor armies: relying on debt to get the economy working, relying on the lottery rather than taxation to pay for public projects, too much concentration of wealth within few hands and finally, refusing citizens authorization to start businesses.

A society with heavy debts tends to take more risks when on the battlefield, and is more prone to use tactics that can either hit or miss. Societies with heavy debts tend to value instant gratification over long-term plans, meaning that they might try to come up with unrealistic schemes to win short military victories.

Many societies do not tax companies that make millions if not billions of dollars and would rather organize state or national lotteries to raise funds to fund public projects. Lotteries over taxation implies that society does not have the collective spirit an army should have.

When too much wealth is concentrated in a few hands, soldiers feel that it is not their war that they are waging, thus are less determined to win than when wealth is spread around the nation.

Refusing people authorization to start businesses means such people often have to work for someone else, putting higher risks on unpaid wages or abuse at the workplace. People or families who start businesses often view such businesses as a steady flow of cash, meaning more social stability, meaning that those abused at the workplace have the option to start their own businesses or to sell at the market, leading to less abuse at the workplace, owners knowing that abused workers will leave.

4. Relationships among soldiers

Four factors contribute to the destruction of relationships of soldiers within the same unit: lack of space, lack of noise regulation, lack of privacy and finally lack of clear rules guiding the relationships.

Lack of space leads to lack of hygiene. Too much noise leads to lack of sleep. Lack of privacy leads to soldiers trying to please each other rather than wage rational fights. If there are no clear rules guiding soldiers behavior, especially regarding harassment and abuse, soldiers fight each other rather than fighting the enemy.  

5. Diet and health

Five factors contribute to the destruction of health among soldiers: diets high in alcoholic beverages, high in meat, high in fat, high in salt, high in sugar.

A good soldier is a well-fed soldier. A good meal means a balanced diet. Balanced diets start at the society level, as soldiers come to the barracks naturally healthy.

6. The media

Four genres in excess can train reluctant soldiers when excessively portrayed in the media: romance and sexuality, comedy, hedonism-themed shows, consumerism-oriented shows.

If the media portrays society as a fun, loving, fun-loving, consumer-oriented society, consumers of the media will not see the point in waging a fight against any enemy.

7. Urban planning and architecture

Four factors contribute to the poor training of soldiers: the high presence of buildings, skyscrapers and departments stores over houses with backyards and markets, that is the tendency to rise buildings, lack of public parks and sports facilities, lack of incentives to walk rather than take public transportation, building roads, bridges, industrial complexes and landmarks in excess.

Any excess of infrastructure will lead to its destruction if airstrikes are ever to happen. Since air space is difficult to protect, preserve flat housing and infrastructure over elevated housing and infrastructure.

8. Education system

Four factors in education lead to train poor soldiers: focus on writing rather than on speaking, not teaching clear speaking and writing, teachers who do not uphold the highest ethical and judicial standards and finally excessive praise or criticism.

Students who are not allowed to talk to each other often poorly report danger in the barracks and are poor at identifying threats. Abusive teachers and students, or students who praise or criticize excessively leads to soldiers who are very rigid in the type of behavior that they expect. Live and let live should be the school moto to train good soldiers.

9. Identifying imminent attacks and negotiation skills

Four types of armies refuse to come to the negotiation table: armies with heavy financial debt, armies with health problems or a health crisis, armies who are creditors and have yet to receive their money back, armies who sense a power imbalance.

Power imbalances lead to armies trying to buy time before waging war and constantly delay meetings or negotiations. Same goes with debt or health crises, as the army will try to delay meetings until they are forced to the negotiation table.

10. Government

The civilian government has three branches: the executive branch which identifies threats and opportunities, the legislative branch that codifies measures to counter threats and opportunities and the judicial branch which verifies the legitimacy of such threats and opportunities. Threats and opportunities can come from five areas: security threats, environmental threats, political threats, social threats and finally economic threats.

11. Imminent attack

Four factors increase considerably the likelihood of an attack: an agricultural crisis, an industrial crisis, a service sector crisis, a debt crisis. Such crises lead to armies considering conquering land to balance the books.  

12. Warfare psychology

Four tactics are used to destabilize the opponent: silence on critical issues, insults and verbal attacks, simulated chaos and double standards. Such tactics tend to irritate opponents who then have trouble organizing when facing such harassment.  

13. Spies and human shields

Human shields are a last resort to avoid a war. They are used when the army is trying to buy time and trying to find a solution to problems that can lead to war such as heavy debts. There are five types of spies: military spies, environmental spies, political spies, social spies and economic spies.


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