Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

All warfare is based on deception (Sun Tzu)

If all warfare is – indeed – based on deception, would disinformation then qualify as lying? A simple answer would be a Yes. A complex answer would first look at human intentions. It could be argued that the victim has good intentions (eg, survival), while the aggressor has bad intentions.

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

A quote from The Art of War (c.5th century BC) by the Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu,

The Sun Tzu quote above results in the following observations regarding military strength:

  • USA is always downplaying its military strength (eg, repairs, shortages);
  • if Sun Tzu is right then China shows its military strength (eg, Taiwan) to hide its weaknesses;
  • Russia has been able to fool the entire world, for decades, on its military power.

Hence, I tend to doubt most warfare related information. Clearly, it’s not in the interest of such countries to give truthful military data and/or information (eg, Russia-Ukraine). However, as fictional FBI agent Fox Mulder used to say: “The truth is out there” (eg, meaning-1, meaning-2).

I doubt we are interested in the truth during wars (eg, Russia vs Ukraine). Usually, the victim’s words are considered true, while claims of the aggressor must then be false. The same principle applies in domestic disputes. Essentially, the one who starts a fight has already lost (eg, the argument).

Indeed, Ukraine is the victim of the 2022 Russian invasion. However, Ukraine has created a comfortable victim role and exploits it. Recently, Ukraine went too far and almost alienated its military allies (eg, Washington Post, 13 July 2023). Clearly, Russia has no answers; apart from bombing.

Once deception is unmasked, trust (eg, between countries, neighbours) is the first to disappear. Restoring trust will take about a full generation and nearly a century. I do wonder if trust in Russia will ever be restored given their habit of lying. See my 2019 blog: Why is lying a Russian habit?

“Deception is one of the quickest ways to gain little things and lose big things.”

A quote by Thomas Sowell (b.1930), an American economist, author, and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Little Lies (1987) by Fleetwood Mac
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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