“Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle, but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.”
‾Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“Sometimes by losing a battle, you find a new way to win the war.”
‾Donald Trump, President-elect of the United States
This article seeks to examine the bold 100-day action plan the newly elected President-elect Donald J Trump seeks to enact upon the first 100 days following his oath of office on January 20th, 2017 (my birthday). In this article, I will do a comparative analysis of President-elect Trump’s many strategic policy proposals to the classic military treatise, The Art of War by the famous military general and philosopher Sun Tzu (544-496 BC). For more than 2,000 years Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has provided various leaders with essential military advice on battlefield tactics, managing trained troops and impassable terrain, and employing effective cunning and iconoclastic deception. An elemental part of Chinese culture, it has also become a touchstone for the Western struggle toward survival and success; whether in battle, in business, politics, or relationships in general.
Donald Trump’s Six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC
★FIRST, propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.
★ SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).
★ THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
★ FOURTH, a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
★ FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
★ SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections
Sun Tzu’s Strategic Offensive & Analysis
Master Sun said:
- Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle.
- Not in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.
- The highest form of warfare Is to attack strategy itself;
o The next, to attack Alliances; the next, to attack armies.
- The skillful strategist defeats the enemy without doing battle,
o Captures the city without laying siege,
o Overthrows the enemy state without protracted war.
President-elect Donald Trump’s six-part initiative to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington compares precisely to parts of the strategic offensive philosophy of General Sun Tzu. Trump’s initiative ultimately seeks to remove the stagnation of corruptible politicians and federal bureaucrats abusing their time and power in public office before his term as President takes root. As Sun Tzu taught, to attain ultimate victory in battle one must directly defeat an enemy’s strategy; this is similar to Trump who is exploiting and seeking to destroy the Washington, D.C. cronyism syndicate that for years has comprised Congressmen and federal officials (i.e., “drain the swamp” tactics) by enforcing Congressional term limits (often allowing the same representatives to serve in the same position for decades), along with defunding over-bloated bureaucracies (especially the anti-Christian and anti-Conservative IRS).
In his first 100 days Trump also seeks to deconstruct unaccountable lobbyists with ties to foreign countries by proactively ending all federal government collusion. This will concurrently save future hundreds of billions of dollars by corrupt politicians in Washington perpetuating acts of “waste, fraud and abuse”, similar to Sun Tzu teaching how to psychologically defeat an enemy before the battle even begins.
Seven actions to protect American workers:
★ FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.
★ SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
★ THIRD, I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.
★ FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.
★ FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
★ SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.
★ SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.
Trump’s 100-Day Plan
Sun Tzu’s Empty and Full & Analysis
- By reinforcing his vanguard, he weakens his rear;
o By reinforcing his rear; he weakens his vanguard.
- By reinforcing his right flank, he weakens his left;
o By reinforcing his left, he weakens his right.
- By reinforcing every part, he weakens every part.
- Weakness stems from preparing against an attack.
- Strength stems from obliging the enemy to prepare against an attack.
Donald Trump will take aggressive steps toward ending job-killing protectionist policies affecting millions of potential jobs for average American workers by dismantling dozens of Obama-era anti-American, anti-capitalism trade deals which are against America’s vested economic interests. The Left’s tactics toward restricting mining for natural resources represents Sun Tzu’s philosophy of “empty and full” toward deconstructing an enemy’s defenses. Under Trump’s “America First” foreign policies, the enemy in this instance represents the many foreign nations including China, Mexico, and Japan that have benefited for decades from America’s consistent economic decline involving failed trade policies like, NAAFTA and the TPP; failed trade treaties Trump repeatedly warned how America is suffering from an 800 trillion-dollar trade deficit with manufacturing goods.
Trump’s economic plans will restore America’s many trade weaknesses and shortfalls with other nations, whom are craftily exploiting America’s lack of safeguards toward ensuring fair and balanced trade, just as Sun Tzu explained how weakness is a result of one preparing for an attack (America preparing to receive more deficits and economic shortfalls under continued financial train wrecks like NAFTA and the TPP) will only weaken America. This would prevent the need to force the enemy to reinforce his defenses by placing American trade benefits above foreign nations through Trump’s “America First” foreign and domestic policies.
Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act
An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with two children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from seven to three, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35% to 15%, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10% rate.
Sun Tzu’s Strategic Offensive & Analysis
- Supplying an army at a distance drains the public coffers
o And impoverishes the common people. Where an army is close at hand prices rise,
- The common people spend all they have; when they spend all,
o They feel the pinch of taxes and levies. Strength is depleted on the battlefield;
- Families at home are destitute.
Trump’s extensive strategy to slash taxes across the board for upper through lower class American families and businesses directly avoids Sun Tzu’s wise words of warning toward resisting overbearing taxes and levies on the populace. In order to grow the economy at a rate unseen throughout Obama’s 8 years of stagnant 1% GDP growth, Trump proposes to drastically cut existing government taxes, representing the remaining economic barriers toward financial growth by the Obama administration (the enemy), the Socialist barriers of which Sun Tzu argues against, accusing of exploiting the financial suffering of families as a result.
American Energy and Infrastructure Act
Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over ten years. It is revenue neutral.
Sun Tzu’s Making of Plans & Analysis
- Settle on the best plan,
o Exploit the dynamic within, develop it without.
Here, Trump seeks to bridge the federal government’s self-imposed gap between public and private infrastructural investments toward rebuilding American cities’ crumbling roads, hospitals, airports, etc., which is similar to how Sun Tzu teaches one to bridge the best military strategies in order to craft the greatest possible plan while investing in the inner potential of an army.
School Choice and Education Opportunity Act
Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends Common Core and brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and makes two- and four-year college more affordable.
Sun Tzu’s Waging of War & Analysis
- In chariot fighting, when more than ten enemy chariots are captured,
o The man to take the first should be rewarded.
- Change the enemy’s chariot flags and standards;
o mingle their chariots with ours.
The plan to redirect federal funding for education into creating greater local school choices while ending GSA and CCSSO ran Common Core programs relates to Sun Tzu’s advice toward seizing enemy chariots and redirecting the control of the chariots under one’s own control. The chariot is a symbol of autonomy for a student to ride towards pursuing an untampered education void of any restrictive standards imposed by such overbearing programs as Common Core. Reshaping the enemy chariot’s flag and standards is the same as shifting educational standards and funds toward local school choice (a pro-American choice based on Natural Law [integration of law and morality] and Natural Rights of the constitutional Framers).
Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act
Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.
Sun Tzu’s the Fray & Analysis
These are 3 Important Axioms of the Art of War:
- Do not advance uphill.
- Do not oppose an enemy with his back to a hill.
- Do not pursue an enemy feigning flight.
- Do not attack keen troops.
- Do not swallow a bait. Do not thwart a returning army.
Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the financial train-wreck known as Obamacare, recognizing all of the warning signs following its economic downfalls involving skyrocketing premiums, loss of doctors, health insurers’ abandonment, etc., represents Sun Tzu’s axioms of what not to do in war. Trump, like many other Republicans foresaw and warned against the destined collapse of the “unaffordable care act” before it was passed as law in 2010, just as Sun Tzu warns against the many foreseeable military shortfalls in battle.
Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act
Allows Americans to deduct childcare and eldercare from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-site childcare services and creates tax-free dependent care savings accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
Sun Tzu’s Waging of War & Analysis
- So a wise general feeds his army off the enemy.
- One peck of enemy provisions is worth twenty carried from home;
- One picul of enemy fodder is worth twenty carried home.
Here, as Trump often reminds, the enemy of the people is the corrupt big government welfare state in Washington sucking the incomes of the American people through overbearing excessive taxes and regulations. As Sun Tzu shows mercy to his fellow citizens through offering relief from expending his home city’s resources and materials to continually fuel his army by strengthening his forces by the expendable provisions of the enemy, so does Trump offer tax relief for families with taxed healthcare for children and elders by private choice traditional health careunder free market paradigms based on choice that crosses state lines.
End Illegal Immigration Act
Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a two-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a five-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.
Sun Tzu’s Form of Terrain and Analysis
- “Deadlock” means that neither side finds it advantageous to make a move.
- On deadlock terrain, even if our enemy offers a bait,
o We do not make a move;
o we lure him out; we retreat.
- And when half his troops are out, that is or moment to strike.
Here, Trump’s longtime promise to secure America’s southern border through building a wall to end the record inflow of illegal aliens into the U.S relates to Sun Tzu’s philosophy of deadlock terrain, where neither side exploits benefits from weaknesses in their respective defenses and the objective is to not fall into the enemy’s bait (amnesty for entering illegal aliens) while maintaining protection over one’s own borders. Trump’s immigration policies do not endeavor to grant amnesty for illegals residing unlawfully in the nation, but to instead compel illegal migrants through reinforced border security to return to their countries of origin and to immediately expel illegal immigrants who are gang members or have committed crimes like those who re-enter upon deportation.
Restoring Community Safety Act
Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a task force on violent crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.
Sun Tzu’s Potential Energy and Analysis
- Relying on the energy, he sends his men into battle like a man;
o Rolling logs or boulders. By their nature, on level ground logs and boulders stay still;
o On steep ground they move; square they halt; round they roll.
- Skillfully deployed soldiers are like round boulders rolling down a mighty mountainside.
Sun Tzu’s formula toward utilizing the “potential energy” of an army by sending out able troops ready to fight in battle equals Trump’s plan to inspire a task force of able-bodied police officers seeking to quash out rising levels of crime. Trump seeks to utilize the potential energy in American law enforcement (why Trump was known as the “Law and Order” candidate) funding local police stations and various federal agencies often undermanned or lacking in tools to round up active criminals.
Restoring National Security Act
Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values.
Sun Tzu’s On the March and Analysis
- In War, numbers are not the issue. It is a question of not attacking too aggressively.
- Concentrate your strength, assess your enemy, and win the confidence of your men: that is enough.
- Rashly underestimate your enemy, and you will surely be taken captive.
Trump’s plan to rebuild the dilapidated U.S military, the size of which has become vastly decreased to its smallest size in 70 years under Barack Obama, while making sure to assess the grave threat of radical Islamic Terror groups, seeking to infiltrate the nation and inspire home-grown civilian terrorism, is similar to Sun Tzu teaching to hone the potential of one’s army, focusing troop strength against a well-studied enemy (in this case ISIS). Sun Tzu warns against rashly underestimating one’s enemy, which the Obama administration has notoriously done for the past five years with false claims that ISIS has been contained, while allowing multiple terror attacks at home and overseas.
Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act
Enacts new ethics reforms to drain the swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics
Sun Tzu’s Forms and Disposition
- The skillful warrior takes his stand on invulnerable ground; he lets slip no chance of defeating the enemy.
President-elect Donald Trump’s dynamic 100-day plan is a strategic blueprint that properly prepares the incoming administration to wage war against the greatest buildup of stagnant corruption and overbearing government regulation in Washington (hence the political slogan – “Drain the Swamp”), just as the great Chinese military general Sun Tzu crafted in his famous work, The Art of War, toward properly equipping one with the proper guide toward waging war physically, intellectually, and politically. This is why I titled my essay: “Sun Tzu’s Art of War = Donald Trump’s Art of Victory”.
President Trump’s plan in many respects personifies his many powerful campaign promises that helped elevate his record electorate base allowing him to clinch a land-slide presidential election victory on Election day, similar to how Sun Tzu’s work exemplifies his legendary military prowess and wisdom that has attained him countless victories throughout his life time while inspiring various forms of strategy to this day. It is in America’s best interest to educate themselves with Sun Tzu and Trump’s powerful strategies that have launched the two to unprecedented levels of victory in History, especially as Trump prepares to take the oath of office in the following months leading up to Inauguration Day, January 20th 1997 (my birthday).
*N.B.: This essay is based in part on The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, edited and translated by John Minford (Penguin Classics, 2002). See also, “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter”.
Category: Socrates Corner