GaryGagliardi's blog

The Lost Strategy for the Democrats Winning the Election

The Democrats had a strategic problem this year. How do you unseat a sitting president during a time of war when Republicans are generally seen as much stronger on defense issues than Democrats?

This problem was strategically soluble, if we understand Sun Tzu's method of turning problems into opportunities. However, solving it would have meant that the Democrats would have had to think strategically instead of doing what was emotionally satisfying.

Trifling Details, Facts, and Workable Theories

Because of what we now call the "fog of war" (and Sun Tzu called the "muddiness of war"), both sides in any contest tend to see reality as they choose, through the filter of their own theories. Where is there hard fact? Which theories are really workable? Sun Tzu teaches that the truth is found in the "trifling details," that is, the smallest, most detailed solid evidence. These details may seem so small that they seem unimportant, but Sun Tzu teaches us that we must change our theories when the smallest solid fact that doesn't fit our existing theory.

The Media's Misunderstanding of Strategy

My biggest criticism of the media has been its complete lack of understanding of strategy especially compared to the media of 60 years ago, during WWII. Nothing demonstrates the media's misunderstanding of competitive strategy better than their incompetent support for Kerry in this campaign. Though some of the media's members think that their support is worth 15% of the vote, their support is hurting not only their credibility but their candidate as well.

Strategy, Poker, and Sun Tzu's Philosophy

I spend labor day playing golf and poker. I have been studying Texas Hold'em as a training tool in strategy. A very important part of Sun Tzu's strategic system is the concept of gui, which is usually translated as "deception" but which is much closer to the idea of bluffing in poker. What Sun Tzu teaches is that everything you do communicates something about your plans. What you do (in the case of poker, betting) is much more than what you say because actions have a cost while words are cheap.


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