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Ancient Military Strategy Nineteen Remove Firewood from Under the Caldron

Avoid a contest of strength with the enemy but seek to weaken its position in accordance with the image of Dui underneath Qian.

The man must be completely foolish who attempts to cook water in a caldron on the stove by scooping it up and pouring it back repeatedly. A military leader who confronts a superior enemy head on commits the same kind of blunder at a much greater cost. Thus the strategy instructs him not to seek engagement with the enemy until he has successfully reduced its combat strength, mainly by undermining the morale of its forces.

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