“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” – Master Sun
Master Sun (the author of The Art of War) knew that planning a battle and preparing for it thoroughly were necessary to win on the battlefield – he kept refining and evolving his strategies and wrote down everything he learned to be better prepared for the next challenge.
The Arabs of the past were beacons of enlightenment, they had appreciation of differences and growing trade relations around the known world. They were The Superpower of their time. This refinement and an evolving society Arabs lost, they became too comfortable and proud in their power.
Today their descendants consider themselves in a wretched and weak state. One of my Arab friends from Saudi Arabia said that as the world advances Arab leaders are stuck in mindsets that refuse to adjust to the realities of the 21st Century – he said ‘there are those who say that The Arab Mind will not change and those who say this have a vested interest in the Arab mind not changing especially those Arabs who they are milking oil and money from.’
“Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?” – Master Sun
The Arab-Israeli dispute or issues between Iran-Saudi Arabia as well as other tension points must be sorted out not by outside nations but by the people in those nations themselves and they must lead on these and other initiatives rather than wait for others to lead. Its time to put that subservient and inferiority complex mindset that colonialism took advantage (and still does) – aside.
Master Sun said ´You group a few hundred or even thousand men together and treat them as one. Suddenly, instead of having to direct a 100,000 men individually, you can control them all by directing a few.’ Simply you break down a big task into many smaller units to make them more manageable. – amongst Arab nations and Muslim nations this rule was used against them to split them – divide and rule. One group against another whilst the third group took advantage of this weakness. Now this divide and rule tactic is used within nations – not just within Arabs nations to split groups and pit them against one another whilst the politician who hankers for more power and control pulls the strings.
Cease hiding away and waiting for others.
Nations that were treated – and let themselves willingly be treated as proxies without regard for their own peoples aspirations or welfare must learn to stand up for their own people and future – this sheepish mindset that thrives on the status quo that uses religion for example as a political control tool rather than a tool of empowerment and self-confidence – must end.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Master Sun
Master Sun changed his plans due to circumstances. Whether that was the weather, on the fighting grounds, against his enemies – he had to adapt to new realities and deal with them – he did not run back to some shamans to ask for advice. When adversity occurs whether against the individual, tribe or nation there must be flexibility in response – if one thing fails, try another way. Those who revert to putting up barriers and or surrendering and hiding behind religion to or a political philosophy to save their seat of power whilst their family, tribe or nation suffers – are not really leading.
Globalisation and connectivity between people around the world is increasing and young people are becoming more knowledgeable about their history from different points of view – not just the ones their own societies, governments or media. These people refuse to be treated as slaves or as victims by anyone. Arab and Muslim leaders must rise to the challenge of globalisation and lead their people and not fight back against this tide simply to save their seats of power – which if they do will break them and their nations.
Religious scholars who have involved themselves in politics have played and still play a very detrimental role in a 21st Century nation and peoples development – they played this role mostly to get power for themselves at the expense of the people who they should have been empowering through religion. ‘Scholars’ or political leaders who use or have used ‘religion’ to control their people come across fake and superficial to their increasingly aware populations especially young people who see their hypocritical antics online. Fighting against your population to control them through religion is a losing battle. The nations and people that will succeed will be those who are able to ‘ride’ this wave of change effectively and not fight against the tide through false piety.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Master Sun
Master Sun always prepared for the worst no matter how well he trained his soldiers. Once the leader considers the worst-case scenario the leader thinks of possible solutions and every move his opponent makes, the leader will make his move. Those that go back to a shaman or religious leader to ask his advice on something he knows nothing of will likely get a response maybe that this is Chess and Chess is Haraam and the leader loses valuable time to find a workable strategy. And this is the mindset that is the greater enemy of Arabs and Muslims whose thinking was hampered in the past because these religious shamans that consecutive ‘leaders’ used to hold their people hostage.
Cultural, educational, media and religious institutions in Muslim or Arab have created stunted mindsets in leaders who cannot see beyond their seat of comfort.
“Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.” – Master Sun
A mindset that hinders happiness in life of your family or tribe over time becomes a dark and frustrating place. Imagine that instead of this limiting mindset in Muslim nations and leaders there was a mindset that was confident in their own leadership abilities and those leaders trusted their people – just like nearly a thousand years ago when what was regarded as a Golden Age – imagine an European Union-like – ‘Arab Economic Union’ a market that attracts billions into and between these Arab markets?
Imagine Universities that produced intellectuals and professionals that valued their people and nations rather than an outside expert hired whose best interests lay in how much he or she was going to be paid. This can happen but only with leadership that is willing to rise to the challenge and not fight against it.
When a people rest their pride on their ancestors achievements and they themselves become lazy and unthinking – they will lose. Whoever those people are.
Shrewdness within Arab and Muslim minds is virtually non-existent and yet this is how political and economic realities and strategies that are effective are formed internationally and used against those who do not learn similar strategies.
“Sweat more during peace: bleed less during war.” – Master Sun
I am not asking Arabs or Muslims to use such strategies at all times but rather understand them and be aware of them so when such strategies are used against you – you know and you can adjust your moves accordingly – and learn to play chess. Learn strategy. Think of your moves ahead. Exercise your mind to exorcise your ignorance.
Strategies are essential to counter other nations as well as economic and political blocs so you can look after your family, tribe or nations best interests and not be swayed by personality or manipulation by the other side or an individual within your own side whose agendas are very limited.
The Art of War is a simple book that can assist the mindsets of those who have lost that willingness to stand up for their best interests. Why seek advice and leadership from those whose visions are limited rather than go deep within our own-selves to understand some simple techniques that this short book teaches.
Dogmatic interpretation of religion as a tool of control is failing – as simply Muslims (and Christians as well as other religious groups) are becoming more aware of how their religion rather than being an empowering personal tool of connecting to the Almighty has been used and abused to keep them down and ignorant. The chains that weighed this mindset down and prevented it from joining the march towards a better future for all – are breaking. That mindset, which was insular, regressive and unreceptive to new ideas is opening.
“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.” – Master Sun
An individual nation standing alone, could never hope to achieve anything against large economic, military and/or political blocs – but the bigger the bloc is, the greater the clout and its influence and this is the reason bigger nations try to break off nations from such blocks whether its the United Kingdom from the European Union or Arab nations being picked off one by one – Countries that stand alone will have to follow the dictates of larger countries and groups of nations. This is simple divide and rule techniques that will break the unaware.
But one of the best things about Middle Eastern and Asian cultures is that they are more family focused whilst in the West individualism is more of the rule. And yes family comes first and by extension of this the tribe and the nation. This is something that needs to be awakened within Western nations alongside the reverence towards our elders.
We need to stop blaming others for all of our troubles – Muslim/Arab nations need to stand up for ourselves and our development or we will remain bystanders whilst political and military alliances, international trading blocs and globalisation movements move forward – the worst enemy we have are our own fears.