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Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare$
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Mark R. McNeilly

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199957859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199957859.001.0001

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Shaping the Enemy

Shaping the Enemy

Preparing the Battlefield

(p.119) 5 Shaping the Enemy
Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare

Mark McNeilly

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the fifth principle of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and its application in military situations. Shaping means mastering the enemy and making them conform to the leader’s strategy, rules, and will. To shape the enemy, one must first put together all that has been learned so far. A leader must know the situation; one must be able to deceive the enemy as to one’s plans; and all this must be accomplished with blinding speed. These principles must be combined in a strategy that “shapes” the enemy. That strategy must attack not only the resources of the opponent but also, more importantly, the minds, thought processes, and wills of its leaders.

Keywords:   shaping, military strategy, wars, modern warfare, The Art of War, Sun Tzu

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