Nothing can sap the marrow from a nation faster

than an impetuous leader

spoiling for war

(or one who is unwise in its waging).

Only a leader who is willing to count the profound cost and consequences of war

stands a chance of entering into such a inauspicious endeavour

without perpetuating widespread harm

and destroying his own country in the process.

Though skilled soldiers may be well trained and well-equipped with advanced weaponry —

though an effective military may have the latest in technological resources and vast logistical support at its disposal —

assembling, maintaining and transporting such a force comes at a great price.

Listen closely!

The purpose of war is not to attain power, prestige, position or wealth

nor even the fleeting glory of victory...

but rather, of dire necessity.

Wise leaders enter into a military campaign only if compelled —

and then only with the utmost restraint.

He enters a battle gravely —

with gravity and great compassion,

as if in mourning —

as if attending a funeral.

For soldiers far from home will eventually lose heart.

Weapons long at war will eventually lose their efficacy.

Warfare exhausts human, technological and financial resources.

The heart of a nation is weakened by the continual conscription of its sons and daughters.

The pockets of the people are emptied by the continual levying of taxes.

The resources of the land are depleted and polluted by endless conflict.

A nation wearied like this is weak at home and weak in the field;

at risk to become easy prey for ambitious oligarchs.

The wise leader knows that even an army stationed and supplied at home heavily taxes a nation —

drives prices up and impoverishes the people.

Greater still is the scarcity born of waging long wars at great distances.

No nation has ever benefited from it.

Therefore, a wise leader avoids repeatedly raiding the country's families of their sons and daughters for soldiering,

their purses for money to buy weapons,

and their peace to wage war.

If no other solution can be found but to engage in warfare,

then plan strategically,

weigh the costs carefully,

then strike swiftly as a tiger —

with alacrity and precision.

With gratitude and respect,

honour and properly care for your soldiers and for all manifestations of Life,

in the process.

Do as little harm as possible.

Weaken the adversary, by using his own force against him —

replacing his flags with yours,

and turning his own weapons back upon him.

Utilize his resources to sustain your efforts,

but once the work is done and he has been subdued,

restore order and peace as quickly as possible,

while treating him and the people

with honour, dignity, respect, distributive justice, and true compassion.

For victory is not defined in the winning,

but in ensuring that the conflict is resolved swiftly —

with the least amount of harm and destruction —

ensuring the long-term health, well-being and prosperity of the planet

and all of her children —

all our brothers and sisters —

all manifestations of Life.

Only a leader who realizes and puts these principles into practice

is truly fit

to

hold

the

world’s

fate

in

her

hands.

Not two.

— a literary adaptation of a teaching of Sūn Zǐ 孙子 (Sun Tzu), the 5th century BCE Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher, as recorded in the book Sūn Zǐ Bīng Fǎ 孙子兵法 ('Master Sūn's Military Method’s') or what has been more commonly translated into English as 'The Art of War', based on a translation by Brian Browne Walker, as well as a teaching of Lǎo Zǐ 老子, 6th century BCE philosopher, teacher and archivist as recorded in the Dào Dé Jīng 道德經 (the Book on the Nature of the Way), based on translations by Stephen Mitchell, Luke Chan and Hua-Ching Ni

May your every breath be peace, light and love.

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