pose as friend , and crush your enemy totally


No rivalry between leaders is more celebrated in Chinese history than the
struggle between Hsiang Yu and Liu Pang. These two generals began their
careers as friends, fighting on the same side. Hsiang Yu came from the nobility; large and powerful, given to bouts of violence and temper, a bit dullwitted, he was yet a mighty warrior who always fought at the head of his
troops. Liu Pang came from peasant stock.

 He had never been much of a
soldier, and preferred women and wine to fighting; in fact, he was something of a scoundrel. But he was wily, and he had the ability to recognize
the best strategists, keep them as his advisers, and listen to their advice. He
had risen in the army through these strengths.
In 208 B.C., the king of Ch'u sent two massive armies to conquer the
powerful kingdom of Ch'in. One army went north, under the generalship
of Sung Yi, with Hsiang Yu second in command; the other, led by Liu
Pang, headed straight toward Ch'in. The target was the kingdom's splendid
capital, Hsien-yang. And Hsiang Yu, ever violent and impatient

, could not
stand the idea that Liu Pang would get to Hsien-yang first, and perhaps
would assurne command of the entire army.
At one point on the northem front, Hsiang's commander, Sung Yi,
hesitated in sending his troops into battle. Furious, Hsiang entered Sung
Yi's tent, proclaimed hirn a traitor, cut off his head, and assumed sole command of the army. Without waiting for orders, he left the northem front
and marched directly on Hsien-yang. He feit certain he was the better soldier and general than Liu, but, to his utter astonishment, his riyal, leading a
smaller, swifter army, managed to reach Hsien-yang first. Hsiang had an
adviser, Fan Tseng, who wamed him, "This village headman [Liu Pang]
used to be greedy only for riches and women, but since entering the capital
he has not been led astray by wealth, wine, or sex. That shows he is aiming
Fan Tseng urged Hsiang to kill his riyal before it was too late. He told
the general to invite the wily pe asant to a banquet at their camp outside
Hsien-yang, and, in the midst of a celebratory sword dance, to have his
head cut off. The invitation was sent; Liu fell for the trap, and came to the
banquet. But Hsiang hesitated in ordering the sword dance, and by the
time he gave the signal, Liu had sensed a trap, and managed to escape.
"Bah!" cried Fan Tseng in disgust, seeing that Hsiang had botched the plot.
"One cannot plan with a simpleton. Liu Pang will steal your empire yet
and make us all his prisoners."
Realizing his mistake, Hsiang hurriedly marched on Hsien-yang, this
time determined to hack off his rival's head. Liu was never one to fight
when the odds were against hirn, and he abandoned the city. Hsiang captured Hsien-yang, murdered the young prince of Ch'in, and bumed the
city to the ground. Liu was now Hsiang's bitter enemy, and he pursued
hirn for many months, finally comering hirn in a walled city. Lacking food,
his army in disarray, Liu sued for peace.
Again Fan Tseng wamed Hsiang, "Crush hirn now! If you let hirn go
again, you will be sorry later." But Hsiang decided to be merciful. He
wanted to bring Liu back to Ch'u alive, and to force his former friend to acknowledge hirn as master. But Fan proved right: Liu managed to use the
negotiations for his surrender as a distraction, and he escaped with a small
army. Hsiang, amazed that he had yet again let his riyal slip away, once
more set out after Liu, this time with such ferocity that he seemed to have
lost his mind. At one point, having captured Liu's father in battle, Hsiang
stood the old man up during the fighting and yelled to Liu across the line of
troops, "Surrender now, or 1 shall boi! your father alive!" Liu calmly answered, "But we are sworn brothers. 

So my father is your father also. If you
insist on boiling your own father, send me a bowl of the soup!" Hsiang
backed down, and the struggle continued.
A few weeks later, in the thick of the hunt, Hsiang scattered his forces
unwisely, and in a surprise attack Liu was able to surround his main garrison. For the first time the tables were turned. Now it was Hsiang who sued
for peace. Liu's top adviser urged hirn to destroy Hsiang, crush his army,
show no mercy. "To let hirn go would be like rearing a tiger-it will devour
you later," the adviser said. Liu agreed.
Making a false treaty, he lured Hsiang into relaxing his defense, then
slaughtered almost all of his army.

 Hsiang managed to escape. Alone and
on foot, knowing that Liu had put a bounty on his head, he came upon a
small group of his own retreating soldiers, and cried out, "I hear Liu Pang
has offered one thousand pieces of gold and a fief of ten thousand families
for my head. Let me do you a favor." Then he slit his own throat and died.
Hsiang Yu had proven his ruthlessness on many an occasion. He rarely
hesitated in doing away with a riyal if it served his purposes. But with Liu
Pang he acted differently. He respected his rival, and did not want to defeat
hirn through deception; he wanted to prove his superiority on the battlefield, even to force the clever Liu to surrender and to serve hirn. Every time
he had his riYal in his hands, something made hirn hesitate-a fatal sympathy with or respect for the man who, after all, had once been a friend and
comrade in arms. But the moment Hsiang made it clear that he intended to
do away with Liu, yet failed to accomplish it, he sealed his own doom. Liu
would not suffer the same hesitation on ce the tables were turned.
This is the fate that faces all of us when we sympathize with our enemies, when pity, or the hope of reconciliation, makes us pull back from
doing away with them. We only strengthen their fear and hatred of uso We
have beaten them, and they are humiliated; yet we nurture these resentful
vipers who will one day kill uso Power cannot be dealt with this way. It
must be exterminated, crushed, and denied the chance to return to haunt
uso This is all the truer with a former friend who has become an enemy. 

The law governing fatal antagonisms reads: Reconciliation is out of the
question. Only one side can win, and it must win totally.
Liu Pang learned this lesson weIl. After defeating Hsiang Yu, this son
condottieri wanted to
hear. On ce he reached
Sinigaglia. Cesare
would he an easy prey,
caught hetween the
citadel and their force.\'
ringing the town ...
The condottieri were
sure they had military
superiority. helieving
that the departure of
the French troops had
left Ces are with only
a small j(Jrce.
In fact, according to
Machiavelli, [Borgiaj
had left Cesena with
ten thousand infantrynlen and three thousand horse, taking
pains 10 split up his
men so that they wOllld
march along parallel
routes hefore converging on Sinigaglia. The
reason for such a large
force was that he knew,
from a confession
extracted jiom Ramiro
de Lorca, wh at the
condottieri had up
their sleeve. He therefore decided 10 turn
their own trap against
them. This was the
masterpiece oftrickery
that the historian Paolo
Giovio later called 

magnijicent deceit. "
At dawn on Decemher
31 [1502j, Cesare
reached the outskirts of
Sinigaglia .... Led hy
Michelatta Corella,
Cesare 's advance guard
of two hundred lances
lOok up its position on
the canal bridge ...
This control of the
bridge effectiveiy
prevented the conspirators ' troops from with ­
drawing ...
Cesare greeted the
condottieri effusively
and invited them 10
join him .... Michelotto
LAW 15 109
hat! prepared the
Palazzo Bernardino
for Cesare 's use, and
Ihe duke inviled Ihe
condotticri inside, ,
Onee int!oors Ihe men
were lJuietlv arrested
by guards WflO crepl up
from Ihe rear, , , '
[Cesare[ gave orders
for an aflack on
Vitelli 's and Orsini :\'
soldiers in the oallying
areas, ' 

, , Thai night,
while Iheir Imops were
being crushed, Michelotto throttled Oliveretto and Vile/li in Ihe
Bernardino palace, , ,
AI one fell swoop,
[├čorgiaJ had goi rid of
his former generals ami
lvors! enemic.''i.
JiJ have ullimate
victory, YOll must be
1 76'i- lH21
110 LAW 15
of a farmer went on to become supreme commander of the armies of Ch'u.
Crushing his next rival-the king of Ch'u, his own former leader-he
crowned himself emperor, defeated everyone in his path, and went down
in history as one of the greatest rulers of China, the immortal Han Kao-tsu,
founder of the Han Dynasty.
Those who seek to achieve things should show no mercy.
Kautilya, Indian philosopher, third century B, C,
Wu Chao, born in A.D. 625, was the daughter of a duke, and as a beautiful
young woman of many charms, she was accordingly attached to the harem
of Emperor T'ai Tsung.

 The imperial harem was a dangerous place, full of young concubines
vying to become the emperor's favorite. Wu's beauty and forceful character quickly won her this battle, but, knowing that an emperor, like other
powerful men, is a creature of whim, and that she could easily be replaced,
she kept her eye on the future.
Wu managed to seduce the emperor's dissolute son, Kao Tsung, on the
only possible occasion when she could find him alone: while he was relieving himself at the royal urinal. Even so, when the emperor died and Kao
Tsung took over the throne, she still suffered the fate to which all wives and
concubines of a deceased emperor were bound by tradition and law

: Her
head shaven, she entered a convent, for what was supposed to be the rest
of her life. For seven years Wu schemed to escape. By communicating in
secret with the new emperor, and by befriending his wife, the empress, she
managed to get a highly unusual royal edict allowing her to return to the
palace and to the royal harem. Once there, she fawned on the empress,
while still sleeping with the emperor. The empress did not discourage
this-she had yet to provide the emperor with an heir, her position was
vulnerable, and Wu was a valuable ally.
In 654 Wu Chao gave birth to a child. One day the empress came to
visit, and as so on as she had left, Wu smothered the newborn-her own
baby. When the murder was discovered, suspicion immediately fell on the
empress, who had been on the scene moments earlier, and whose jealous
nature was known by all. This was precisely Wu's plan. Shortly thereafter,
the empress was charged with murder and executed. Wu Chao was
crowned empress in her place. Her new husband, addicted to his life of
pleasure, gladly gave up the reins of govemment to Wu Chao, who was
from then on known as Empress Wu.
Although now in a position of great power, Wu hardly feh secure.
There were enemies everywhere; she could not let down her guard for one
moment. Indeed, when she was forty-one, she began to fear that her beautiful young niece was becoming the emperor's favorite. She poisoned the
woman with a day mixed into her food. In 675 her own son, touted as the
heir apparent, was poisoned as weIl. The next-eldest son-illegitimate, but
now the crown prince-was exiled a little later on trumped-up charges.
And when the emperor died, in 683, Wu managed to have the son after
that declared unfit for the throne. All this meant that it was her youngest,
most ineffectual son who finally became emperor. In this way she continued to rule. 

Over the next five years there were innumerable palace coups. All of
them failed, and all of the conspirators were executed. By 688 there was no
one left to challenge Wu. She proclaimed herself a divine descendant of
Buddha, and in 690 her wishes were finally granted: She was named Holy
and Divine "Emperor" of China.
Wu became emperor because there was literally nobody left from the
previous T'ang dynasty. And so she ruled unchallenged, for over a decade
of relative peace. In 705, at the age of eighty, she was forced to abdicate.
All who knew Empress Wu remarked on her energy and intelligence. At
the time, there was no glory available for an ambitious woman beyond a
few years in the imperial harem, then a lifetime walled up in a convent. 

Wu's gradual but remarkable rise to the top, she was never naive. She
knew that any hesitation, any momentary weakness, would speIl her end.
If, every time she got rid of a riyal a new one appeared, the solution was
simple: She had to crush them all or be killed herself. Other emperors before her had followed the same path to the top, but Wu-who, as a woman,
had next to no chance to gain power-had to be more ruthless still.
Empress Wu's forty-year reign was one of the longest in Chinese history. Although the story of her bloody rise to power is weIl known, in
China she is considered one ofthe period's most able and effective rulers.
A priest asked the dying Spanish statesman and general Ram6n Maria Narvaez
(1800-1868), "Does your Exceltency forgive alt your enemies ?" "[ do not
have to forgive my enemies, " answered Narvaez, "[ have had them alt shot. "

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