上兵伐谋 – Chinese philosophy and culture

shàng bīng fá móu 上兵伐谋

The Best Strategy in Warfare is to Foil the Enemy’s Strategy.

用兵的上策是挫败敌方的计谋。“上兵伐谋”是孙子(前545?—前470?)提出的一条军事原则。在孙子看来,军事斗争是在不同层面展开的。不同层面的斗争都可以对战争胜败产生重要的影响。其中,武力攻伐对于双方都会造成极大的伤害,因此是不得已的选择。善于用兵之人应在武力斗争发动之前,运用谋略破除敌人的进攻威胁,或为己方的武力攻伐扫清障碍,以最小的代价实现战略目标。

Foiling the enemy’s strategy is an important principle proposed by Sunzi(545?-470?BC). In his view, war is waged at different levels, all of which have a significant impact on the outcome. Armed attacks will do great damage to both sides, so they should be avoided if at all possible. Those who are good at leading armies should be able to use stratagems to eliminate the threat of enemy attack in advance or clear the obstacles to their own armed forces to achieve their strategic goals at minimal cost.

引例 Citation:

◎故上兵伐谋,其次伐交,其次伐兵,其下攻城。攻城之法,为不得已。(《孙子·谋攻》)

(所以用兵的上策是挫败敌方的计谋,其次为破坏敌方的外交,再次是攻打敌方的军队,最下策进攻敌方的城邑。攻城是不得已采取的办法。)

The best strategy in warfare is to foil the enemy’s strategy, the next to break up their alliances, still the next to strike at their troops, and the worst to attack their walled cities. Attacking walled cities must be avoided if at all possible. (The Art of War)

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