Sun Tzu Quotes on Warfare and Realist Politics

​Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception.

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

are far from him. If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.

The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.

He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.

The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.

Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.

In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.

Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.

All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.

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