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[Book] Lessons in War - by Lord Varro

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Deterrence Strategy

By Lord Varro

I have often found that the best way to fight off aggressors is to keep them from attacking you in the first place. Do this by creating the impression of being more powerful than you are. Build up a reputation: You're a little crazy. Fighting you is not worth it. You take your enemies with you when you lose. Create this reputation and make it credible. Uncertainty is often more powerful than overt threat: if your opponents are never sure what messing with you will cost, they will not want to find out. Play on the natural fears of mer and men, toy with their anxieties, and they will always think twice.

Deterrence strategy relies on three basic truths about war and human nature: First, your opponents are more likely to attack you if they see you as weak or vulnerable. Second, they cannot know for sure that you're weak; they depend on the signs you give out, through your behavior both present and past. Third, they are after easy victories, quick and bloodless.

Deterrence is simply a matter of turning this dynamic around, altering any perception of yourself as weak and naive and sending the message that battle with you will not be as easy as they had thought. Do this by taking some visible action that will confuse aggressors and make them think they have misread you. Action is more powerful than any word you can say; hitting back, for instance, even in some small, symbolic way, will show that you mean what you say. With so many other people around who are timid and easy prey, the aggressor will most likely back off and move on to someone else.

Reputation is everything. Unfortunately, we cannot, at all times, be intimidating; after all, we all have to fit in, play politics, seem nice and accommodating. Usually, this works fine, but in moments of heightened danger, if you are seen as a benevolent, it can work against you: it says that you can be pushed around, discouraged, and obstructed. If you have never been willing to fight back before, none of your threats are credible. The truth: there is great value in letting people know that, when needed, you can let go of your niceness and be downright terrifying. All it takes are a few violent demonstrations. Once people see you in this light, they will approach you with a little fear in their hearts. And, as my father often said, in the realm of war, it is more useful to be feared than loved.

Inspired and adapted from 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene
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House Varro | Stories | Profile| Belisarius#2034
Posted Jan 3, 18 · OP · Last edited May 4, 18
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Lessons in War

Forcing Strategy

By Lord Varro

In war - as in life - others constantly seek to control you. They want you to act in their interests; they want to keep the dynamic on their terms. Know this: the only way to get the upper hand is to make your play for control more intelligent. Do not try to dominate the other side's every move; instead, work to define the nature of the relationship itself. Do this by shifting conflicts to the ground of your choosing; alter the pace and the stakes to suit you -- not them. Maneuver to control their minds; target their emotional nerves; compel them to make mistakes. If necessary, you may need to even let them feel as if they are in control in order to make them lower their guard. Remember: if you control the overall direction and framing of a battle, anything they do will play directly into your control.

Control is the most significant aspect of all relationships. It is in our nature to abhor the feelings of helplessness. Every interaction you have is a battle for control - there is always a constant maneuvering between you and them to determine who has control over this or that. This battle of the mind is inevitable.

As a strategist, you have two goals. First, reorganize the struggle for control in your life, and never be taken in by those enemies who claim they are not interested in controlling you. These are often the worst manipulators of them all. Second, you must master the art of moving the other side like pieces on a gameboard, with purpose and direction.

Purposes you should aim for in forcing strategy are thus:

Keep them on their heels: make them play defensive and keep them in a mode of reaction and it will demoralize them. Seize the initiatve.

Choose your battlefield: Shift your enemies into places and situations where they do not control the dynamic. This unsettles them.

Force them into errors: Do not give your enemies time enough to do anything. Move with all energy. Create such frustration that you devastate their emotional weaknesses. Defeating an enemy army is nothing more than defeating the mind of the enemy general.

Assume passive control. Make them think they are in control. This is the ultimate form of domination.

I leave you with this. Everything in Tamriel conspires to put you on the defensive. Above all else, you must live above reaction. Liberate your mind from this feeling. By acting boldly, before others are ready, you seize the initiative, you create your own circumstances, rather than simply waiting for what life or fate will bring you. Your first move alters the entire campaign; people are made to react to you, creating the impression that you are larger and more powerful than you actually are. The respect and fear you inspire will give you an offensive power, a reputation that precedes you unlike any other. Like other great leaders, you must also have a touch of madness: you must be ready to disorient and confuse your enemy for its own sake, to advance and strike no matter the circumstance.

In war, the battle for control falls to one choice: be constantly defensive, or force others feel it instead. That is the power of forcing strategy.

Inspired and adapted from 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene
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House Varro | Stories | Profile| Belisarius#2034
Posted Jan 12, 18 · OP · Last edited Jan 12, 18
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