Who was with Guan Yu in Jing Zhou?

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Unread postby Lu Kang » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:31 am

Cao Shang, your version of events, as amusing as it is, is based on a flawed premise.

There are two big problems with that. Wu and Shu were not friendly states. Their ultimate goal was not to destroy Wei.

Liu Bei had already made it clear that he did not care much for alliances. He had a long track record of shady ethics as well as taking advantage of Sun Quan. These indicate that Liu Bei is not to be trusted. Guan Yu was appointed governor of Jingzhou. He openly held a hostile opinion of Sun Quan and his territory. All this leads to Wu not being able to trust Shu. In addition they must worry about a Shu attack which believe it or not, is a bigger threat than Wei. Yes, Shu attacking was a bigger threat than Wei. Yes, Wei was bigger and stronger, but Shu was more dangerous in this position.

Shu was the leading threat to Sun Quan and the freedom of Yangzhou. It is much easier to attack Yang from Jing, especially when one has access to the Yangtze. There is a reason that Wei was never able to take any ground from Wu. Attacking across the Yangtze is notoriously hard. In fact Wu was only conquered after it had been gutted of all power, and even then, only when an army attacked from Yizhou and came down the Yangtze.

Sun Quan didn't doom Wu, he insured it's saftey and lasting power. If he left Jingzhou in the hands of Liu Bei it was only a matter of time before they attacked him. Yang alone does not have the resources required to resist Wei ona full time basis. Without Jing, Wu would have fallen and Shu would have fallen soon after. By taking Jing, Sun Quan actually saved Wu and Shu. He maintained the tripod which was critical for Shu and Wu to exist. Without it, Shu and Wu are destroyed.
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Unread postby Guan Yan » Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:39 am

without an allience they would not take wei, Also sun quan didnt think ohh ok if i execute liu bei's brother guan yu he will be pissed off. Anyone could realise this. I am supprised that none of sun quans advisors would notify him of this.
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Unread postby Cao Shang » Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:14 am

Lu Kang wrote:Cao Shang, your version of events, as amusing as it is, is based on a flawed premise.

There are two big problems with that. Wu and Shu were not friendly states. Their ultimate goal was not to destroy Wei.

Liu Bei had already made it clear that he did not care much for alliances. He had a long track record of shady ethics as well as taking advantage of Sun Quan. These indicate that Liu Bei is not to be trusted. Guan Yu was appointed governor of Jingzhou. He openly held a hostile opinion of Sun Quan and his territory. All this leads to Wu not being able to trust Shu. In addition they must worry about a Shu attack which believe it or not, is a bigger threat than Wei. Yes, Shu attacking was a bigger threat than Wei. Yes, Wei was bigger and stronger, but Shu was more dangerous in this position.


I know and fully agree about Liu Bei not being trustworthy and Guan Yu didn't help to make it any easier.
And I believe had Wu and Shu worked together, Shu had been in a more favorable position, had Wei been defeated and would it have lead to Wus destruction.

But I don't believe Shu would attack before Wei had been destroyed. They would just hurt themselves, just like Wu did. ;)

And sure it may not have been their ultimate goal to destroy Wei, but surly it wasn't their goal to be overcome by Wei either.
Without an alliance, just as Guan Yan, I can't see Wu/Shu take on Wei alone either.


Lu Kang wrote:Shu was the leading threat to Sun Quan and the freedom of Yangzhou. It is much easier to attack Yang from Jing, especially when one has access to the Yangtze. There is a reason that Wei was never able to take any ground from Wu. Attacking across the Yangtze is notoriously hard. In fact Wu was only conquered after it had been gutted of all power, and even then, only when an army attacked from Yizhou and came down the Yangtze.

Sun Quan didn't doom Wu, he insured it's saftey and lasting power. If he left Jingzhou in the hands of Liu Bei it was only a matter of time before they attacked him. Yang alone does not have the resources required to resist Wei ona full time basis. Without Jing, Wu would have fallen and Shu would have fallen soon after. By taking Jing, Sun Quan actually saved Wu and Shu. He maintained the tripod which was critical for Shu and Wu to exist. Without it, Shu and Wu are destroyed.


My problem here is that when two fight, the third benefits... Wei was the strongest to begin with, the fighting between Wu and Shu only helped Wei.
In the end Sun Quan might have gained something short-term, but long-term he still doomed Wu.
When he gave Liu Bei the area, he should have known that it would not just be returned.
He still did it, which isn't necessary a bad thing to do, but he turned it into one, when he went against Shu later on.
Either not give Liu Bei anything, or follow accordingly to the plan. He did neither and that was the problem.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:02 pm

Dont forget that Liu Bei was given/ took over himself Nan Jun prefecture and it was Zhou Yu who was governor of the rest of the region in Jing Zhou.

At the time of Chi Bi it was imperative that Sun Quan have as many allies as possible and Liu Bei was valuable to him. He helped Liu Bei because he needed Liu Bei to help him in his own areas. Regardless of how Liu Bei's troops helped in the battle, he was important in stopping defections from Jing Zhou when most of the other Wu allies were on the river fighting the battle.

When faced with a "million man" army, it would be understandable for a huge quantity of civilians, rebels and small officials to surrender without the court's judgment on the matter anyway.

Now, Liu Bei, for all his vices did help Sun Quan at Chi Bi, and he did own Nanjun. When he moved away to attack Ba/Shu, is it surprising that he asked Sun Quan several times to delay in giving him "back" his area? Not really.. and should Sun Quan have resented it?

It was a business deal- say if someone buys a business.

If they say "ok, we'll give you 5% of turnover for the next 10 years", then when the company starts in the other person's name, it takes ages for business to develop for whatever reason (hard times, over supplied customers, suppliers unreliability/ going out of business themselves, poor premesis etc etc), then would it be completely unreasonable of the company that has bought that business to say "look, we haven't managed to utilise the name of your business very well and some of those things are your fault, can we delay/ change the conditions of contract because it's just not possible to do that transaction at this time", would that be so bad?

Also, yes.. Wu and Shu were lot allies in the sense that they HAD to work together. Sun Quan and Liu Bei had their own governments and could choose to do what they wanted.

HOWEVER. Is it wise to attack your weak neighbour with your weak country when you know that both of you will be consumed by a stronger power in the North?

Not really.

Yes, Sun Quan gained when he attacked Jing, but I think he also doomed himself to failure against Wei, since without a half decent Shu with it's powerful and influential politicians and generals fighting with Wu against Wei, it's like shooting of your left leg to give your right one more space.

This is actually what Zhuge Liang was betting on when he thought up the 3k strategy, because he knew that as soon as one country did what Sun Quan did, it would doom them because the other two could attack the one and the weaker would be consumed. Seeing as Wu and Shu were the weaker, it was really unlikely that Sun Quan would be so unwise as to attack Shu and make them into permanently fearful of betrayal from Wu, therefore never being able to hold against Wei.

OK, now you can say the following:

Shu and Wu had an alliance after Guan Yu died in Jing.

In answer to this:

Shu lost one of their "best" generals (regardless of his actual prowess, he scared Wei a lot.. his loss is a loss regardless).

Liu Bei and Shu probably never really trusted Wu again, regardless of this alliance. It's a bit like Taiwan agreeing to be the ROC. No choice. If any decent is heard, then Wu could attack Shu again and they'd probably have been defeated.

Wu knew that Shu had to have them for support, so they could do what they liked with them without any comeback. Then again, Wu doomed themselves to take over from Wei because of the fact that they'd raped Shu's lands, they'd never trust them again.
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Unread postby Lu Kang » Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:30 pm

guan yan wrote:without an allience they would not take wei, Also sun quan didnt think ohh ok if i execute liu bei's brother guan yu he will be pissed off. Anyone could realize this. I am supprised that none of sun quans advisors would notify him of this.


He certainly knew Liu Bei would be pissed. He also knew that Liu Bei was not is friend.

Cao Zhang wrote:But I don't believe Shu would attack before Wei had been destroyed. They would just hurt themselves, just like Wu did.


It's as Lu Meng described. Shu won't attack while Wu is strong, but as soon as they see an opening they will attack. If Shu's advances stall and Wu is left open they will invade without hesitation. This is a risk Wu cannot take or pass on to future generations. If Wu never invaded and Lu Meng passed away I can definitely see Guan Yu taking a swipe at Wu.

My problem here is that when two fight, the third benefits... Wei was the strongest to begin with, the fighting between Wu and Shu only helped Wei.


If Cao Cao attacked and defeated Shu or Wu when they were fighting, this would be a relevant point. Wei did not take advantage of their fighting. What did they gain? Not getting to fight Guan Yu more? Seems more like Wei got cheated!

When he gave Liu Bei the area, he should have known that it would not just be returned.
He still did it, which isn't necessary a bad thing to do, but he turned it into one, when he went against Shu later on.


This was when Sun Quan was committed to the alliance. If the alliance was going to defeat Wei they would need to work together like this. Liu Bei refused to help Sun Quan and thus made it clear that the alliance was never going to defeat Wei. The two separate states would never make gains if they didn't work intimately and have strong trust. Without that trust something would always get in the way. Liu Bei doomed the alliance and any chance of Shu making great gains into Wei. Sun Quan realized this and sought to secure the necessary resources to maintain his state. Once he gained more resources in 215, his main threat shifted from Cao Cao to Liu Bei.

In the end Sun Quan might have gained something short-term, but long-term he still doomed Wu.


You have it backwards. The alliance was a short-term strategy. It was destined to fall apart at sometime, sooner or later. By gaining the necesary resources to survive, Sun Quan garenteed his kingdoms security. In doing so he also minimized one of the greatest threats to his kingdoms int he form of Guan Yu.

Shi Tong wrote:Now, Liu Bei, for all his vices did help Sun Quan at Chi Bi, and he did own Nanjun. When he moved away to attack Ba/Shu, is it surprising that he asked Sun Quan several times to delay in giving him "back" his area? Not really.. and should Sun Quan have resented it?

It was a business deal- say if someone buys a business.


Sun Quan didn't resent the single fact of Liu Bei not returning Nanjun. He was also pissed at being lied to by Liu Bei. He was also upset that Liu Bei would betray his own family member (Liu Zhang). He was also probably annoyed that he had saved Liu Bei's life, lent him land, supported his attacks, and yet had received nothing in return for it. Liu Bei could have easily given him another region of equal value (think Chang Sha + Guiyang, etc.). All this points to someone who cannot be trusted. Those who are close to you and cannot be trusted are threats.

Also, yes.. Wu and Shu were lot allies in the sense that they HAD to work together. Sun Quan and Liu Bei had their own governments and could choose to do what they wanted.


Apparently they didn't as Liu Bei ignored Sun Quan. He was content to take advantage of Wu and give nothing back. I think what you should say is, Shu needed Wu.

HOWEVER. Is it wise to attack your weak neighbour with your weak country when you know that both of you will be consumed by a stronger power in the North?


I think this point helps me more than you! Sun Quan knew that his state would be consumed if all he was Yang. The single province on Yang has no chance of making serious inroads against all of the central plains. He lacks the necessary manpower and military resources. He is not going to gain any land. This much is clear and observed by Lu Meng. Rafe de Crespigny once likened Wu's position in 210 in regards to Wei to Belgium and Germany circa 1914. Wu could hold off Wei temporarily, but they would eventually fall. Look at Wei from 207-217. Three separate attacks on Yang by Cao Cao. Sun Quan was the focus of Cao Cao's attack! Cao Cao saw the weakest link and focused on it. He would eventually win out and take Yang. When that happened Liu Bei would quickly fall as well. Sun Quan does not have the power to resist Cao Cao. He needed more power to properly hold off Cao Cao's various assaults. This is why he requested aid from Shu. When Shu finally and bluntly put him off, he knew that he had two enemies. And much like Cao Cao went after the weaker of the two, so did Sun Quan. By making some quick gains he gave his kingdom better footing to essentially just survive.

Shu and Wu had an alliance after Guan Yu died in Jing.


Without going into semantics, the relation between Shu and Wu post-220, were only possible due to the security they posses against each other. Neither side really could attack the other easily, so they could agree to focus only on Wei. If you believe that taking Wei after 220 was entirely hopeless is to ignore all the precedents and examples throughout Chinese history. There was always a chance; they just had to wait for it to present itself.

Yes, Sun Quan gained when he attacked Jing, but I think he also doomed himself to failure against Wei, since without a half decent Shu with it's powerful and influential politicians and generals fighting with Wu against Wei, it's like shooting of your left leg to give your right one more space.


Sun Quan didn't lose anything. He only gained in this. He didn't diminish his chances against Wei, he increased them. He didn't put himself in a worse position, it got better. The only party to lose is Liu Bei, who just so happens to be one of the 2 greatest threats to Wu's liberty. You assume that Liu Bei and Sun Quan are like left and right leg. This isn't the case. Liu Bei was not a friend. He would betray Sun Quan if the opportunity ever presented itself. Sun Quan was stuck between a rock and a hard place with Liu Bei and Cao Cao. While Liu Bei was not actively attacking him, Cao Cao was, and he would eventually win.

Sun Quan is not going to gain any territory in Xu (or the northern part of Yang for that matter) without more resources. He doesn't even control an entire province! He has an experienced navy and a province full of non-han potential rebels. If he doesn't get more resources fast, he's going to be conquered fast. Liu Bei refused to help. He even indicated that he would betray a friend or family with little worry. So here is little Belgium, and it's fighting Germany, but it also know that France wants it's land too! It's lose-lose for Wu to not take Jing. By not taking Jing, Wu is rolling over and letting Wei win. And by letting Wei win, it would doom Shu.

Liu Bei's strategy was probably to let Wu remain just long enough to distract Cao Cao so he could take some territory. When the time was right, Liu Bei would take Yang.

Wu knew that Shu had to have them for support, so they could do what they liked with them without any comeback. Then again, Wu doomed themselves to take over from Wei because of the fact that they'd raped Shu's lands, they'd never trust them again.


Wu didn’t doom themselves! They saved themselves. Sun Quan had one main priority: To maintain his state's sovereignty. This is the most important goal. You suggest that he should sacrifice the security and liberty of his nation so that one of his enemies can be defeated by another? That does not help Sun Quan’s position anymore. He is not going to blindly support Liu Bei at the cost of his state. He is not going to give up the necessary defense of his (pre) kingdom just to defeat Wei. Defeating Wei is not the top priority! Keeping his sovereignty is. This is the point that most people don’t understand. Sun Quan wasn’t dooming himself to take over by Wei. By launching futile attacks across the YangTze he was definitely damning himself.

Sure History will tell us that Wu did not take over Wei. It will also tell us that Wei never took over Wu. I think that Sun Quan was successful in the most important goal of any leader. Given more time, and avoiding the emergence of Sun Hao, there may have been good opportunities for Wu to take advantage of and made some real headway (think 7 princes, or perhaps a northern barbarian invasion?)

To say Sun Quan doomed himself for take over is to ignore the facts. Sun Quan already was doomed for take over, he in a quick move ensured his independence. To say that Sun Quan would have been better not taking Jing is to suggest that Sun Quan would have been better off ignoring the security of his kingdom. It is only a blind suggestion by those who erroneously believe that Shu and Wu had the same deep down goal. This is false. Shu’s main goal was to preserve Shu’s sovereignty. Wu’s goal was to preserve Wu sovereignty. To suggest defeating Wei was the most important priority is a pure fantasy. Wu did was what necessary to accomplish the only goal that truly matter, for if you fail to accomplish that goal, there are no other goals.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:50 pm

Sun Quan didn't resent the single fact of Liu Bei not returning Nanjun. He was also pissed at being lied to by Liu Bei. He was also upset that Liu Bei would betray his own family member (Liu Zhang). He was also probably annoyed that he had saved Liu Bei's life, lent him land, supported his attacks, and yet had received nothing in return for it. Liu Bei could have easily given him another region of equal value (think Chang Sha + Guiyang, etc.). All this points to someone who cannot be trusted. Those who are close to you and cannot be trusted are threats.


a) I dont think that Sun Quan would give two hoots about Liu Bei attacking Liu Zhang. If Sun Quan was stupid enough not to see this happening then I think him and his advisers were pretty well useless.

b) I can see why he'd be annoyed at giving Liu Bei support, I can even see why he'd resent Liu Bei keeping Jing Zhou and wanting to covet his lands.

c) I can also see why Sun Quan might not trust him very well.

However, in this situation, if you face off Wu against Shu, you weaken both countries because you pour troops into the area and kill both side's strong generals.

Maybe Sun Quan hated Guan Yu and didn't trust him, but if Sun and Liu had BOTH bothered to speak to one another and come up with a proper alliance then maybe the bloodshed and weakening of each country would have been unnecessary.

Apparently they didn't as Liu Bei ignored Sun Quan. He was content to take advantage of Wu and give nothing back. I think what you should say is, Shu needed Wu.


No no, that's the whole idea of 3k- Wu needed Shu and Wei, they all needed each other. If Wei attacks Wu, Shu attacks Wei and defends Wu in it's action and round and round in circles like so.

If this idea is broken and the two weak countries attack each other, they instantly weaken the two weaker pedestals of the kingdom and are much more likely to be beaten by the stronger party.

Liu Bei and Sun Quan ignored each other it wasn't just Liu Bei. In fact, when Sun Quan started to have trouble with Guan Yu instead of looking for resolution he turned straight to plot and violence.

Sun Quan knew that his state would be consumed if all he was Yang. The single province on Yang has no chance of making serious inroads against all of the central plains. He lacks the necessary manpower and military resources.


Of course, but if he attacks the weaker ally in the relationship he has to hold on Jing Zhou too, and then has two countries on his borders who distrust him and want him dead.

If he'd have made a strong alliance with Shu (and I'm not saying it's possible, I'm saying it wasn't even attempted), then they would have been able to support each other.

Rafe de Crespigny once likened Wu's position in 210 in regards to Wei to Belgium and Germany circa 1914. Wu could hold off Wei temporarily, but they would eventually fall. Look at Wei from 207-217. Three separate attacks on Yang by Cao Cao. Sun Quan was the focus of Cao Cao's attack! Cao Cao saw the weakest link and focused on it. He would eventually win out and take Yang. When that happened Liu Bei would quickly fall as well. Sun Quan does not have the power to resist Cao Cao. He needed more power to properly hold off Cao Cao's various assaults.


Of course he did.

This is why he requested aid from Shu.


Which is the correct way to turn- the 3k theory means that Shu should always aid Wu because they are the weaker parties against Wei and must hold one another up to fight the bigger bully.

When Shu finally and bluntly put him off, he knew that he had two enemies.


Sorry, elaborate on this-
a) who did he ask.
b) why then are they "enemies" and not just put off instead? Just because Liu Zhang only sends a few hundred men to Chi Bi, Cao Cao didn't instantly assume that Liu Zhang was then an enemy.

And much like Cao Cao went after the weaker of the two, so did Sun Quan. By making some quick gains he gave his kingdom better footing to essentially just survive.


Wu was much stronger than Liu Bei at this time, if Cao had attacked Liu Bei that would have been the weakest link, not Wu.

Sun Quan's goal was a short term fix which only worked.. in the short term.

Neither side really could attack the other easily, so they could agree to focus only on Wei. If you believe that taking Wei after 220 was entirely hopeless is to ignore all the precedents and examples throughout Chinese history. There was always a chance; they just had to wait for it to present itself.


They needed each other for defense against Wei, not just because they couldn't attack each other.

I never said that Wu+Shu isn't possible against Wei, I said Wu and Shu that fight with each other and then try to pretend to ally and fight against Wei isn't as strong as the first option.

Sun Quan didn't lose anything. He only gained in this. He didn't diminish his chances against Wei, he increased them. He didn't put himself in a worse position, it got better. The only party to lose is Liu Bei, who just so happens to be one of the 2 greatest threats to Wu's liberty. You assume that Liu Bei and Sun Quan are like left and right leg. This isn't the case. Liu Bei was not a friend. He would betray Sun Quan if the opportunity ever presented itself. Sun Quan was stuck between a rock and a hard place with Liu Bei and Cao Cao. While Liu Bei was not actively attacking him, Cao Cao was, and he would eventually win.


No.

He increased his own countries chances against Wei, but weakened severely the chances of Shu against anyone else. Shu against Wu isn't as big a threat as Wei against Wu, so if Wu doesn't make a pact with Shu then it's disaster for the smaller countries.

Do you mean to say that you believe that Shu would have attacked Wu if Wei had made some incursions into Wu? Do you think that Liu Bei would have condoned it? What's more, even though Liu Bei at the time didn't give aid to Sun Quan, do you think he was actively an enemy of Wu against his best advisers advice?

So here is little Belgium, and it's fighting Germany, but it also know that France wants it's land too! It's lose-lose for Wu to not take Jing. By not taking Jing, Wu is rolling over and letting Wei win. And by letting Wei win, it would doom Shu.


They're not comparable. Belgium is much smaller than France and Germany. What's more you're assuming again that Liu Bei is his enemy, which he isn't.

Or at least, in your analogy, France is unprotected without Belgium, so France needs to be allies with Belgium.

Liu Bei's strategy was probably to let Wu remain just long enough to distract Cao Cao so he could take some territory. When the time was right, Liu Bei would take Yang.


This is totally wrong- the three kingdoms strategy was invented so that Liu Bei could become more than just a small time lord with a couple of followers.

Liu Bei would never be able to attack Wu, even at the heights of Shu's powers, this was simply shown when he lost after Guan Yu died.

Taking "some" land while Cao Cao is distracted.. I think this is also just a little silly.

Cao Cao had many capable generals who could have defended against Shu. If he was really concerned, he could have pulled troops from one region and sent a new army from another region with supplies to stop Shu from attacking. That's the whole idea of the 3k plan anyway.

OK, so even if Liu Bei takes some land.. lets say he takes Tian Shui.. great.. he wont be able to cope with more than just that.

He would need aid. Who can he get it from?

The only place is Wu.

Wu didn’t doom themselves! They saved themselves.


They saved a little bit in the short term and made enemies of their only potential ally.

Defeating Wei is not the top priority! Keeping his sovereignty is.


You speak as if Wu was doomed to failure. It wasn't. Please note the 3k map which shows that even without Jing Zhou, Shu is much smaller and weaker than Wu.

We dont see eye to eye on the power of Wu here..
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Unread postby Lu Kang » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:23 pm

Shi Tong wrote:a) I dont think that Sun Quan would give two hoots about Liu Bei attacking Liu Zhang. If Sun Quan was stupid enough not to see this happening then I think him and his advisers were pretty well useless.

b) I can see why he'd be annoyed at giving Liu Bei support, I can even see why he'd resent Liu Bei keeping Jing Zhou and wanting to covet his lands.

c) I can also see why Sun Quan might not trust him very well.

However, in this situation, if you face off Wu against Shu, you weaken both countries because you pour troops into the area and kill both side's strong generals.

Maybe Sun Quan hated Guan Yu and didn't trust him, but if Sun and Liu had BOTH bothered to speak to one another and come up with a proper alliance then maybe the bloodshed and weakening of each country would have been unnecessary.


His reaction alone when Liu Bei betrayed Liu Zhang and revealed himself a liar is enough to show that Sun Quan did indeed care about being deceived. And what do you mean he was too stupid to see this happening? Liu Bei said he’d rather be a hermit than harm his family member? Why should Sun Quan doubt such a statement? Why should Sun Quan go out of his way to distrust Liu Bei? I mean eventually he didn’t need to as Liu Bei provided him all he needed. The fact of the matter is, Sun Quan was giving strong support into the alliance and Liu Bei took advantage of his ally. A selfish gain that only hurt his ally. When you are hurting your ally, your ally should stop being your friend.

As for hurting both, this is incorrect. While the attack may have hurt their “combined” forces, Wu gained a great deal and was much much strong afterwards. Also, they weren’t that weakened. Right after Yiling, Wu held off a three pronged, 100,000 – 200,000 troop campaign from Wei. Piece of cake. Wu was ready. They knew what they were doing. And what’s this talk of a “proper” alliance? Liu Bei started deceiving Sun Quan all the way in 210. There was never a chance for a proper alliance as long as Liu Bei lived. That is a fact. Sun Quan made such an effort by marrying his sister to Liu Bei. At the same time, Liu Bei was plotting to deceive Sun Quan. The two were incompatible thanks to Liu Bei’s greed.

No no, that's the whole idea of 3k- Wu needed Shu and Wei, they all needed each other. If Wei attacks Wu, Shu attacks Wei and defends Wu in it's action and round and round in circles like so.

If this idea is broken and the two weak countries attack each other, they instantly weaken the two weaker pedestals of the kingdom and are much more likely to be beaten by the stronger party.

Liu Bei and Sun Quan ignored each other it wasn't just Liu Bei. In fact, when Sun Quan started to have trouble with Guan Yu instead of looking for resolution he turned straight to plot and violence.


Sun Quan did look into resolution. He offered Guan Yu a marriage proposal. And before you state that the plot was still in motion, one can still extend the olive branch while war plans are the making. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared you know. Of course Guan Yu insulted Sun Quan. Later he raided the land, further cementing the position that Guan Yu needed to be removed. There were dozens of advisors in Wu who could see the threat Guan Yu presented. He clearly hated Wu and his lord Liu Bei clearly didn’t care to see Wu succeed.

As for the tripod, the comparison makes sense in 230 once the three kingdoms are established, but back in 215 is premature. For example, if Shu took Yang real quick, they would not kill the tripod. They would actually only make the forces of the “allies” which are now just Liu Bei much stronger. Saying that the tripod is necessary doesn’t really fit. Furthermore, Yang is a much weaker “pedestal” than Yizhou would be later. Yang is going to fall to Wei, sooner or later. Wu is going to fall, sooner or later. And then it doesn’t matter how the tripod is arranged.

Of course, but if he attacks the weaker ally in the relationship he has to hold on Jing Zhou too, and then has two countries on his borders who distrust him and want him dead.

If he'd have made a strong alliance with Shu (and I'm not saying it's possible, I'm saying it wasn't even attempted), then they would have been able to support each other.


Holding onto Jing is very important for Wu! By doing so they control their entire defense, rather than handing it off to an ally they can’t trust. When was Liu Bei there to support Sun Quan? Was it when Cao Cao and his “400,000” man army attacked in 213? Was it when Cao Cao attacked again in 217? Notice the trend. Cao Cao wants Wu, and he most likely is going to have it in the state they are in.

Which is the correct way to turn- the 3k theory means that Shu should always aid Wu because they are the weaker parties against Wei and must hold one another up to fight the bigger bully.


And Liu Bei did not. Instead he offered lies and deception with a sprinkling of betraying family members. This all points to invasion rather than salvation.

Sorry, elaborate on this-
a) who did he ask.
b) why then are they "enemies" and not just put off instead? Just because Liu Zhang only sends a few hundred men to Chi Bi, Cao Cao didn't instantly assume that Liu Zhang was then an enemy.


The final straw was when Liu Bei gave him an empty promise regarding returning of anything. This amounted to stealing. This was the final straw the proved that Liu Bei was not a friend. Liu Bei would treat Sun Quan like all his other “friends” (coughGongsunZanCaoCaoLiuZhangcough). In that crazy world where you need to fight for more land to survive and where those who do not conquer are conquered. It is there that the man who is not your friend, is your enemy.

Wu was much stronger than Liu Bei at this time, if Cao had attacked Liu Bei that would have been the weakest link, not Wu.

Sun Quan's goal was a short term fix which only worked.. in the short term.


That’s not even close to true. The province of Jing alone was equal to Sun Quan’s holdings in Yang. Not to mention that Yizhou is also just about the same size. Then you add in Yizhou very strong economy, Jing’s location as a trade crossroad, and Wu is far weaker than Shu. I have no idea where this idea of being stronger is. Seems to be some sort of fantasy.

They needed each other for defense against Wei, not just because they couldn't attack each other.

I never said that Wu+Shu isn't possible against Wei, I said Wu and Shu that fight with each other and then try to pretend to ally and fight against Wei isn't as strong as the first option.


You’re right it isn’t, it’s a true shame that Liu Bei threw the alliance to the ground and made a sham out of it. It wasn’t Sun Quan who went around deceiving allies and backstabbing family members. Liu Bei did. If you need someone to blame for your grand vision not working point the finger directly where it’s due, at Liu Bei.


He increased his own countries chances against Wei, but weakened severely the chances of Shu against anyone else. Shu against Wu isn't as big a threat as Wei against Wu, so if Wu doesn't make a pact with Shu then it's disaster for the smaller countries.

Do you mean to say that you believe that Shu would have attacked Wu if Wei had made some incursions into Wu? Do you think that Liu Bei would have condoned it? What's more, even though Liu Bei at the time didn't give aid to Sun Quan, do you think he was actively an enemy of Wu against his best advisers advice?


Your first sentence is true, and it holds the simplicity of the situation. Wu needed to get stronger. Regardless of whether the situation was handled diplomatically or militarily, Shu was going to get weaker. Much like Wu got significantly weaker when it lent Liu Bei nanjun. Nanjun had the manpower resources equal to have of Yang! That’s giving up a third of one’s manpower. And Liu Bei probably could have given up less to satisfy Sun Quan’s need for resources to survive. You’re right, Shu isn’t as “big” of a threat as Wei, but it certainly is the most immediate threat. Sun Quan tried to solve this diplomatically. He already had ample reason to not trust Liu Bei, but he still remained the possibility that it could be resolved with Liu Bei offering some territory, in exchange for the lending agreement earlier. This offer was flatly refused and Sun Quan was given an empty promise (much like, ‘I’ll never attack Liu Zhang!’). He had enough. If his ally was going to jerk him around he was no friend. Worse, Liu Bei had deceived him and now stolen from him. Those are the actions of a hostile regime. Sure on the outside they may be friendly, but it’s a façade. Actions speak louder than words, and Liu Bei’s actions shouted, “Don’t trust me, for I will in time destroy you”. That is a clear indicator of an enemy.

This is totally wrong- the three kingdoms strategy was invented so that Liu Bei could become more than just a small time lord with a couple of followers.

Liu Bei would never be able to attack Wu, even at the heights of Shu's powers, this was simply shown when he lost after Guan Yu died.

Taking "some" land while Cao Cao is distracted.. I think this is also just a little silly.

Cao Cao had many capable generals who could have defended against Shu. If he was really concerned, he could have pulled troops from one region and sent a new army from another region with supplies to stop Shu from attacking. That's the whole idea of the 3k plan anyway.

OK, so even if Liu Bei takes some land.. lets say he takes Tian Shui.. great.. he wont be able to cope with more than just that.


The Three Kingdom plan somehow ended up including lying to allies and betraying family members though. Liu Bei would not attack Wu at the moment because he had more to benefit from exploiting them (i.e. letting Cao Cao attack Wu every 4 years while he takes fringe territories). However once he had established his position better and perhaps weakened Cao Cao more, he would turn towards Wu. This type of thinking is exemplified by a later Shu diplomat in his talks to Sun Quan. He’s already made it clear he will deceive his ally and betray a family member to further his goal. His goal does not include sharing China with Wu. Put one and one together. Wu was not going to succeed by just supporting Shu. They would eventually betray them. Why wait until your screwed when your already screwed? They were already doomed, they took mattes into their own hands and secure their liberty.

They saved a little bit in the short term and made enemies of their only potential ally.


Liu Bei was not Sun Quan’s friend in the long run. I think you’ll find the consensus believes that the alliance was a short term fix. Only by securing one’s total defense could one be set for the long run. This is what Sun Quan did. His only “potential ally”. Liu Bei was no friend. He deceived him. You said yourself you can see why Sun Quan couldn’t trust Liu Bei. If he can’t trust someone who could easily invade and destroy you, not to mention controls a strong component of your defense, he might as well surrender now. He went out and did the right thing, increasing his power so his state could succeed. Any other course of actions is giving up.

You speak as if Wu was doomed to failure. It wasn't. Please note the 3k map which shows that even without Jing Zhou, Shu is much smaller and weaker than Wu.

We dont see eye to eye on the power of Wu here..


Wu controlled Yang. Shu controlled Jing and Yi. Jing and Yi both alone bring more to the table than just Yang. Shu was over twice as strong as Wu. It’s not even a question. Yang isn’t even comipletely settled! It’s full of barbarian tribes who would rise up several times during this era. Yang was mostly some settlements along the YangTze, some coastal settlements, and not much else. They don’t have very many resources (namely horses) which are necessary for make any inroads against Wei. They don’t have the population to defend against Wei for very long. They are screwed. How can you not see this? Are you perhaps referring to Jiao? This wasn’t in Sun Quan’s control. Oh sure, Shi Xie had ‘submitted’ but it was not in Sun Quan’s control until 226. This meant that all he got was a token tribute saying that Jiao pledged allegiance to Sun Quan. No serious gain. So please, find me a map where somehow Shu is so much smaller than Wu. That somehow Yizhou and Jingzhou are weaker and smaller combined than Yangzhou. I doubt you’ll find it.
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Lu Kang
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