On Cao Cao and treachery

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Unread postby Jimayo » Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:29 am

ZhangLiao85 wrote:At least Xiang Yu was a much more honourable man than Liu Bang. Cruel he maybe he still knows the term "shame" and took his own life at Wu Jiang knowing that he had let his people down.

Liu Bang on the other hand was nothing more than a hooligan. He owned his rise to Han Xin and later killed him when he felt that Han Xin had achieve too much for his own good. This man had no sense of honour or shame.


That's why Liu Bang was successful. The successful conqueror is very rarely honorable. Honor doesn't win battles.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:01 pm

I agree with Jimayo here. Honor is an admirable trait, and war would be much more reliant on personal ability if it wree strictly followed, but it was not.
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Unread postby yoshitsune » Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:36 am

It is debateable what is a traitor, and what is a saviour. To overthrow a weak or opressive rule and to establish a better rule has been protraited to be just, like how Zhou defeated Shang and even now people praises Zhou's first emperors Zhou Wu Di and Zhou Wen Di.

Honour is important if you ask me, because that is the basis on how you can win support in the general populance, who makes your army. However during wartimes, referring to the Art of War, 5 of the worst personalities a general can have is:

1.) Not afraid of dying and charges recklessly into the enemy. He will be killed.
2.) Too afraid of dying and he may cause his troops to flee and himself captured.
3.) Too hotheaded so he would not stand any insults from the enemy, and recklessly march his troops into a trap set by the enemy.
4.) Too kind so he will lose strategic positions and be pestered by the enemy if he is too considerate about not disturbing the peasants or damaging their crops.
5.) Too honourable, and he will lose great oppotunaties in defeating his enemies.

Therefore you need to have a honourable cause before going to war, but you should not be honourable during the war, since to win is the entire objective, so you should do whatever it takes to win the war.
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Unread postby ShuWeiYan » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:16 am

What exactly makes Cao Cao a traitor? IMO, he's just a person that would do anything to stay in power, even including if it means to go against his friends, which was Yuan Shao and Liu Bei. Remember in The Prince by Nicholas Machiavelli, a ruler should rather be feared than to be loved in order to stay in power. That's was what Cao Cao was doing after all those years. I saw no signs of betrayl to the Han. If I was to say anything about his deeds of using his power, he's just greedy for power and would do anything for more power.
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Unread postby ShuWeiYan » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:26 am

ZhangLiao85 wrote:
Liu Bang on the other hand was nothing more than a hooligan. He owned his rise to Han Xin and later killed him when he felt that Han Xin had achieve too much for his own good. This man had no sense of honour or shame.


Dude, look at both Xiang Yu and Liu Bang, they're both the heroes of their times and they're also the enemy of each other. Two rulers can't rule the same land. So they have to eliminate each other. So Liu bang was smart while Xiang Yu didn't have the knowledge to plot and kill Liu bang. And second thing, Liu Bang would do anything to eliminate anyone that would threaten his power. So he chose to kill Han Xin because he was acting like that he was the ruler of the Han. So, what make you think that Liu Bang was a hooligan?
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Unread postby Zhilong » Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:43 pm

Xiang Yu may have taken his life for a number of possible reasons:
pride
shame
best way to die given the circumstances.

There are examples of honour in war during the Spring & Autumn period when it was adhered to a bit more. But that was the time when huge massive battles was not yet that prevalent.

Later on someone called the Duke of Song thought it was not honourable to attack enemy troops before they crossed over the river. Needless to say he was defeated. He clung to his honour throughout his life and as a result lost time and again.

Neither extreme is nice. Being practical is a happy medium imo.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Fri Jul 01, 2005 3:16 pm

I think this issue of weather or not Cao Cao is a traitor actually has an obvious answer.

The answer is that Cao Cao was a traitor, but he was a traitor to certain people.

Cao Cao was a traitor to the Han, he basically named himself king and repressed the emperor Xian, which meant that he betrayed the Han empire. Did he betray the people of China? I dont know, because the people were unhappy with the Han as it was when things got kickstarted with the yellow turbans, which was rebellion against the Han, but were the happier being ruled by Cao Cao?

You could also ask if Cao Cao was a traitor in terms of his allies, and you could say that he actually rewarded loyalty quite well in terms of people who worked for him, so he wasn't a traitor to his followers.

So, Cao was a traitor to some and not to others.
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Unread postby Hua Biao » Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:45 am

As are we all.

I think the best way to describe Cao Cao is: Human.

I would have done exactly as he did. He was the most able warlord of his time, simply because he did not let his principles drag him down.
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Re: On Cao Cao and treachery

Unread postby Kong Ming 88 » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:16 pm

Cao Cao for whatever he has done, he was still a hero. The Romance of Three Kingdom novel, in fact had severely berate and downgrade Cao Cao especially after Yuan Shao was eliminated and the rise of Liu Bei. (in order to portray Liu Bei as benevolence)

I would say he is a capable leader, otherwise, will people like Guo Jia, Xun You, Cheng Yu, Man Chong, Zhang Liao, Xun Yu, Jia XU and etc would not serve Cao Cao. These people are damn smart people and some of the them such as Xun You was a righteous minister.

The Three Kingdom is full of chaos and deception. So we can't blame what Cao Cao had done. Otherwise, he would die 100 times already. Look at the Guandu Battle where he show his leadership and if you compare Cao Cao and Yuan Shao at that time, I would say Cao Cao is indeed a hero, whereas Yuan Shao was an idiot. YuaN Shao don't trust his adviser and listen to those who carry him.

Though later part, he do kill a lot but in the time of chaos, probably he have no choice.
Liu Bang kill Han Xin, Li Shimin kill his elder brother in the Xuan Wu Men, Emperess Wu Ze Tian cruelly kill her own baby,
All of them are outstanding ruler but at that certain time, they cann't let emotion rule them.

So here I think we should give some sympathy point to Cao Cao.
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