#33-strategies-of-war #Part-IV-Offensive-Warfare #robert-green #strategy
The greatest dangers in war, and in life, come from the unexpected: people do not respond the way you had thought they would, events mess up your plans and produce confusion, circumstances are overwhelming. In strategy this discrepancy between what you want to happen and what does happen is called “friction.” The idea behind conventional offensive warfare is simple: by attacking the other side first, hitting its points of vulnerability, and seizing the initiative and never letting it go, you create your own circumstances. Before any friction can creep in and undermine your plans, you move to the offensive, and your relentless maneuvers force so much friction on the enemy that he collapses.
This is the form of warfare practiced by the most successful captains in history, and the secret to their success is a perfect blend of strategic cleverness and au- dacity. The strategic element comes in the planning: setting an overall goal, crafting ways to reach it, and thinking the whole plan through in intense detail. This means thinking in terms of a campaign, not individual battles. It also means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the other side, so that you can calibrate your strikes to its vulnerabilities. The more detailed your planning, the more confident you will feel as you go into battle, and the easier it will be to stay on course once the inevitable problems arise. In the attack itself, though, you must strike with such spirit and audacity that you put your enemies on their heels, giving irresistible momentum to your offensive.
The following eleven chapters will initiate you into this supreme form of warfare. They will help you to put your desires and goals into a larger framework known as “grand strategy.” They will show you how to look at your enemies and uncover their secrets. They will describe how a solid base of planning will give you fluid options for attack and how specific maneuvers (the flanking maneuver, the envelopment) and styles of attack (hitting centers of gravity, forcing the enemy into positions of great weakness) that work brilliantly in war can be applied in life. Finally, they will show you how to finish off your campaign. Without a vigorous conclusion that meets your overall goals, everything you have done will be worthless. Mastering the various components of offensive warfare will give all of your attacks in life much greater force.
12 LOSE BATTLES BUT WIN THE WAR: GRAND STRATEGY
Grand strategy is the art of looking beyond the battle and calculating ahead. It requires that you focus on your ultimate goal and plot to reach it. Let others get caught up in the twists and turns of the battle, relishing their little victories. Grand strategy will bring you the ultimate reward: the last laugh.
13 KNOW YOUR ENEMY: THE INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY
The target of your strategies should be less the army you face than the mind of the man or woman who runs it. If you understand how that mind works, you have the key to deceiving and controlling it. Train yourself to read people, picking up the signals they unconsciously send about their innermost thoughts and intentions.
14 OVERWHELM RESISTANCE WITH SPEED AND SUDDENNESS: THE BLITZKRIEG STRATEGY
In a world in which many people are indecisive and overly cautious, the use of speed will bring you untold power. Striking first, before your opponents have time to think or prepare, will make them emotional, unbalanced, and prone to error.
15 CONTROL THE DYNAMIC: FORCING STRATEGIES
People are constantly struggling to control you. The only way to get the upper hand is to make your play for control more intelligent and insidious. Instead of trying to dominate the other side’s every move, work to define the nature of the relationship itself. Maneuver to control your opponents’ minds, pushing their emotional buttons and compelling them to make mistakes.
16 HIT THEM WHERE IT HURTS: THE CENTER-OF-GRAVITY STRATEGY
Everyone has a source of power on which he or she depends. When you look at your rivals, search below the surface for that source, the center of gravity that holds the entire structure together. Hitting them there will inflict disproportionate pain. Find what the other side most cherishes and protects—that is where you must strike.
17 DEFEAT THEM IN DETAIL: THE DIVIDE-AND-CONQUER STRATEGY
Never be intimidated by your enemy’s appearance. Instead, look at the parts that make up the whole. By separating the parts, sowing dissension and division, you can bring down even the most formidable foe. When you are facing troubles or enemies, turn a large problem into small, eminently defeatable parts.
18 EXPOSE AND ATTACK YOUR OPPONENT’S SOFT FLANK: THE TURNING STRATEGY
When you attack people directly, you stiffen their resistance and make your task that much harder. There is a better way: Distract your opponents’ attention to the front, then attack them from the side, where they least expect it. Bait people into going out on a limb, exposing their weakness, then rake them with fire from the side.
19 ENVELOP THE ENEMY: THE ANNIHILATION STRATEGY
People will use any kind of gap in your defenses to attack you. So offer no gaps. The secret is to envelop your opponents—create relentless pressure on them from all sides and close off their access to the outside world. As you sense their weakening resolve, crush their willpower by tightening the noose.
20 MANEUVER THEM INTO WEAKNESS: THE RIPENING-FOR-THE-SICKLE STRATEGY
No matter how strong you are, fighting endless battles with people is exhausting, costly, and unimaginative. Wise strategists prefer the art of maneuver: Before the battle even begins, they find ways to put their opponents in positions of such weakness that victory is easy and quick. Create dilemmas: Devise maneuvers that give them a choice of ways to respond-all of them bad.
21 NEGOTIATE WHILE ADVANCING: THE DIPLOMATIC-WAR STRATEGY
Before and during negotiations, you must keep advancing, creating relentless pressure and compelling the other side to settle on your terms. The more you take, the more you can give back in meaningless concessions. Create a reputation for being tough and uncompromising, so that people are back on their heels before they even meet you.
22 KNOW HOW TO END THINGS: THE EXIT STRATEGY
You are judged in this world by how well you bring things to an end. A messy or incomplete conclusion can reverberate for years to come. The art of ending things well is knowing when to stop. The height of strategic wisdom is to avoid all conflicts and entanglements from which there are no realistic exits.