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The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.
Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.
Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.
It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.
Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.
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.
Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.
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