In this unfair world of who has the power sets the rule, we need to just accept it and develop the wisdom to live successfully in it. Power or influence comes in many forms, such as military might, wealth, resources(e.g. oil, gas, food, metals, etc), information, technology, alliances, etc.
The simple and straightforward way is to become the one with the most power. We learn from the Art of War so that we can win most of the time if not all the time. We want to learn how to play the I-Win-You-Lose game. But what if we are a small country, and not like the big power of the US, Russia, or China. In the midst of such giants, how do we play the I-Win-You-Lose game? We could at times and for a short time. Is there a long-term way of living well among the giants? The answer is there and is obvious when it is pointed out. But our nature, our animal instinct, and the dino's brain cause us to choose to fight, flee or freeze. A better game requires us to use our slow-thinking system, with deliberate facts finding and strategizing to get win-win solutions for us and our giant neighbors. The wisdom comes not from Sun ZI's Art of War but from Gui Gu Zi's Art of Strategic Alliance & Persuasion. In more obvious terms, it is about diplomacy. The right play of diplomacy is not about taking sides but appears always to stay in the fair-play principled centered right choice, not going against or siding any major forces.
This is the sad lesson of Ukraine. By taking the side of the apparent winner giant - the US after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it becomes the pawn in the chess game played by the major powers of the US, EU, NATO, and Russia. One should understand that no one is the super-power all the time, in every area, in every geography, etc. Even the mighty Russia nor US can rule Afghanistan for long. Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of empires.
Many believed that Ukraine should not have believed the US, Russia, and the UK to disarm the nuclear arms. With Nuclear Arms, perhaps Russia would not dare attack Ukraine. We point out at the start that the one with the power makes the rule, so an implication would be never to trust any treaty will last. Extra care must be taken to ensure one stays relevant and useful for the giants of letting us stay alive and in peace. Counting on having Nuclear arms is no guarantee as warfare comes in multiple faces. We can be economically sanctioned to poverty and death.
So, living well in the midst of giants, need wisdom from Gui Gu Zi's Strategic Alliances. It is about understanding the needs and desires of the stakeholders and then seeking win-win solutions for all. Any negotiations, peace talks, and facilitation, must all begin with the frank discovery of all stakeholders' desires, and work toward a win-win for all based on fairness. Start with identifying the common interests, get an agreement, and then build on top to address the disagreement. The early understanding and agreement will build the trust to work out the differences and then seek win-win solutions.
So, don't think of just how to I-Win or You-Win, but the third way of Win-Win together.
The answers could be found in Gui Gu Zi's Art of Strategic Alliances.
To know more, See: Gui Gu Zi - Art of Strategic Alliances & Persuasions
To know more about Sun Zi, see Sun Zi and The Art of War
Lim Liat (c) 4 Apr 2022