Wu's destiny

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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:26 pm

Thank you for enlightening my obscure thoughts!

Then, from what I gather from your answers, Sun Quan probably held this reflexion: " If I can make the Three Kingdoms system as Zhuge Liang foresaw it in his plan last, while Shu and Wei use up their forces against each other, I'll develop my economical strength, by expanding and developping rich provinces in the south. Then, when I shall be strong enough, I shall march on the weakest of my opponants and finally re-unite China by overwhelming the last Kingdom."
But then was Wu with this state ot mind not doomed to fail?
For, if Sun Quan really did think like that (or his counsellors made him) I propose comparing him with a famer harvesting his garden; he slowly and patiently developped his regions but at the end it was his neighbour of whom he had not been weary enough who ate the golden apple of his garden!
Should Wu not have led a more agressive politic, for at the end it was like giving Jin the fruits of his work!
What do you think?

For Meng Houo, why do you think he rebelled at the death of Liu Bei?
English is not my mother tongue. I hope the comprehension isn't too hard.

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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Gray Riders » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:50 pm

Tokugawa Liang wrote:But then was Wu with this state ot mind not doomed to fail?
For, if Sun Quan really did think like that (or his counsellors made him) I propose comparing him with a famer harvesting his garden; he slowly and patiently developped his regions but at the end it was his neighbour of whom he had not been weary enough who ate the golden apple of his garden!
Should Wu not have led a more agressive politic, for at the end it was like giving Jin the fruits of his work!
What do you think?

Being more agressive would have just given the fruit over earlier. Wei was too strong, and Shu's fall shows what attacking a much larger state does, unless you have some sort of advantage to let you gain victory.

I think Sun Quan had the right idea. Build Wu into a strong state, advancing into new lands. Launch some expeditions but don't go crazy, keep looking for weakness or ways to break Wei (like his attempt to use Gongsun Yuan against them), and above all hope fortune hands them something because they definitely weren't conquering Wei in straight up warfare unless something exceptional happened.

Sun Quan's late decline and the problems Wu had after are what killed it; the Shou Chun rebellion was something a strong Wu could have made great use of. Northern China being invaded by foreigners as Jin eventually was would have been a blessing to Wu (and Shu) if they lived.
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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:28 am

TooMuchBaijiu wrote:That said, I doubt he ever had any real loyalty to Han even when he was nominally a subject of the Emperor. Sun Ce likely felt the same way, and so did Sun Jian, at least after the breakup of the coalition.


I agree with you on Sun Quan and Sun Ce, but Sun Jian? The guy was balls deep in Han stuff. I don't see him as toeing the line for his moment to strike out on his own and go rogue.
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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:28 am

Zyzyfer wrote:
TooMuchBaijiu wrote:That said, I doubt he ever had any real loyalty to Han even when he was nominally a subject of the Emperor. Sun Ce likely felt the same way, and so did Sun Jian, at least after the breakup of the coalition.


I agree with you on Sun Quan and Sun Ce, but Sun Jian? The guy was balls deep in Han stuff. I don't see him as toeing the line for his moment to strike out on his own and go rogue.


The man did go around murdering governors. I'm not quite sure where the line between loyalty and his own ambition would have lain but more likely to serve a non-Han lord then strike out on his own.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Should Wu not have led a more agressive politic, for at the end it was like giving Jin the fruits of his work!
What do you think?

For Meng Houo, why do you think he rebelled at the death of Liu Bei?


For Meng Huo, I believe Yong Kai's revolt was a year before Liu Bei's death and that there isn't a clear motive beyond ambition.

We could argue about Wu not being aggressive over Liu Biao's Jing, we could argue about if they should have attacked Liu Zhang's Yi despite Liu Bei's protests (aka the 2kingdom plan), the 219 invasion of Jing right or wrong is also a controversial matter. However Wu could hardly have been more aggressive going north after Chi Bi, I mean they hit Wei more then Zhuge Liang did in Liang's years as Prime Minister for Liu Shan for example. It wasn't for want of trying.

Gray Rider and TMB puts what Wu did very well. They hit a brick-wall going north and could not afford to get out-resourced by Shu, who had the very fertile Yi, and Wei who had the developed north. Quan had what was pretty much a place of exile or barbarians, he had to turn the south's situation from place of punishment into a wealthy land that, if managed right, would allow Wu to hold on until an opportunity came. It just that an ailing Quan and his successors did not manage things right so Wu were weak when a big opportunity came then were too weak to hold out.

Wu were always the underdogs against Wei, but Quan helped change the course of history by suddenly making the south a viable stronghold.
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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:13 pm

Should Wu not have led a more agressive politic, for at the end it was like giving Jin the fruits of his work!


Wu really a lot I think. If you're going to blame anybody for "giving Jin the fruits", I would probably blame Cao Pi and Cao Rui. Though both very capable and fine Emperors, they did not manage the rapidly growing power of the large landowning Confucianist gentry, something which both Sun Quan and Zhuge Liang aggressively curbed (even if Sun Quan's method of curbing it did just seem to involve killing a whole lot of people). And I think in that sense they very disappointingly failed Cao Cao's legacy which was very reformist and frequently butted heads, for the better imo, against the conservative confucianist powers that be.

Cao Shuang, for his great military blunder (as if Sima Yi was such an unparalleled commander anyway), still at least made a bold effort to curb the gentry, and whilst we're not sure if his liberal Taoist following is what Cao Cao had in mind, he can't be blamed for a lack of trying. And had Cao Shuang had a more decisive and daring nature, when Sima Yi threw a coup he could have saved Wei by fighting from Xu Chang and rallying pro-Cao forces. The rebellions of Shou-Chun and defection of Xiahou Ba showed that at least many of the old military families and regional powers in Wei were anti-Sima.

Anyway, I think those three men (Cao Pi, Cao Rui and Cao Shuang) were the ones you can blame for Jin taking over.
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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:20 pm

Well, my final impression here is that Wu as well as Wei, Shu and Han (and also Jin) were pretty much led to their downfall by the corruption and weakening of their leaders by their counsellors, and eunuchs.
Though, Wu's fate sort of makes me uneasy. Zhou Yu, Lu Su, Lu Meng, Lu Xun, Lu Ba, Zhuge Jin, Cheng Pu, all these, and I surely forgot some, talented strategists, all these men of wise counsel, they could not drive Wu into antoher path, could not hinder its downgfall as Zhuge Liang or Sima Yi did, maybe they lived too early? Would Zhou Yu have been able to whistand the assaults of Jin? I suppose ill fate has a great part in this, for if these strategists had not died so early each, they may have changed the course of history...
Wu's attacks failed each time against Wei/Jin, does that mean that Wu's strategists were no match for those of Wei? You say they were aggressive, though the results were defeat each time, or when they won something it was quickly taken back.

Sun Jian, I think was an enlightened ruler. I can't help but feel sorry for the bad luck that made his successors be so bad. You may notice that Shu was in the same case, however Zhuge Liang maintained the Kingdom in a strong position. I always go back to this point, but would Wu not have needed just at the right time a brilliant stategist who could have redressed Wu?
English is not my mother tongue. I hope the comprehension isn't too hard.

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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:47 am

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Well, my final impression here is that Wu as well as Wei, Shu and Han (and also Jin) were pretty much led to their downfall by the corruption and weakening of their leaders by their counsellors, and eunuchs.


Sometimes events well beyond the Emperor's control can easily bring an Empire to its knees. Sometimes it's also the Emperors themselves who fail by refusing to listen to the right people. It's impossible to give a comprehensive simple appraisal, but I'd say roughly:

Wei's downfall: imperial clan became less powerful than most powerful internal faction
Shu's downfall: corruption and a stupid amount of military aggression
Wu's downfall: family troubles within the imperial clan
Han's downfall: natural disasters + central authority destroyed by the feuding between gentry and eunuchs

Having said that, none of them were anywhere near as bad as Jin's downfall imo. The Simas got their comeuppance in a big big way.

Wu's attacks failed each time against Wei/Jin, does that mean that Wu's strategists were no match for those of Wei? You say they were aggressive, though the results were defeat each time, or when they won something it was quickly taken back.


Contrary to what SGYY taught us, there's a lot more to war than having the best strategists. For one Wu had less resources and men.


Sun Jian, I think was an enlightened ruler. I can't help but feel sorry for the bad luck that made his successors be so bad. You may notice that Shu was in the same case, however Zhuge Liang maintained the Kingdom in a strong position. I always go back to this point, but would Wu not have needed just at the right time a brilliant stategist who could have redressed Wu?


Sun Jian was a regional warlord/general, I don't think we can rightly predict how he would have been as an actual ruler.

And in terms of "did Wu need a Zhuge Liang", probably, but that's not because they needed strategy. They just needed a forceful and capable person to steer them through the chaos of the succession struggle. But the problem of depending on one person or a few people rather than a system is that when that one person is bad, then it brings the entire country crashing down, like we saw with Shu being brought low by Jiang Wei and Huang Hao.
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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby TooMuchBaijiu » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:04 am

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Well, my final impression here is that Wu as well as Wei, Shu and Han (and also Jin) were pretty much led to their downfall by the corruption and weakening of their leaders by their counsellors, and eunuchs.


Mostly agreed, but:

Wu: If you want to pinpoint Wu's decline with Sun Quan's death and the ensuing turmoil, sure. But Wu fell on Sun Hao's watch, and it was his incompetence that gave Jin such an easy victory.

Jin: Sima Yan doomed his own empire when he strengthened the Princes (apparently having forgotten how such a setup brought Han to civil war in 154 BC) and named his mentally feeble son heir.

Though, Wu's fate sort of makes me uneasy. Zhou Yu, Lu Su, Lu Meng, Lu Xun, Lu Ba, Zhuge Jin, Cheng Pu, all these, and I surely forgot some, talented strategists, all these men of wise counsel, they could not drive Wu into antoher path, could not hinder its downgfall as Zhuge Liang or Sima Yi did, maybe they lived too early? Would Zhou Yu have been able to whistand the assaults of Jin? I suppose ill fate has a great part in this, for if these strategists had not died so early each, they may have changed the course of history...


Most of these were already dead when Sun Quan died. The only one who could've made a difference was Lu Xun, and while he tried to do the right thing (backing the rightful heir Sun He over his rival Sun Ba) Sun Quan was deep into the Full Retard phase of his reign and essentially fired Lu Xun.

Wu's attacks failed each time against Wei/Jin, does that mean that Wu's strategists were no match for those of Wei? You say they were aggressive, though the results were defeat each time, or when they won something it was quickly taken back.


Lack of manpower, lack of cohesion with Shu, lack of cavalry, internal squabbles, and the fact that the Yangtze was a natural defense on both sides played a bigger factor, I think. Although it is true that Zhuge Ke blew the best chance Wu had to do some real damage-he planned a joint attack with Jiang Wei and possibly could have established a foothold in Huainan had he went for his original target in Shouchun, but the dumb bastard instead went straight for Hefei despite its reputation as the Chinese Gibraltar.

Sun Jian, I think was an enlightened ruler. I can't help but feel sorry for the bad luck that made his successors be so bad. You may notice that Shu was in the same case, however Zhuge Liang maintained the Kingdom in a strong position. I always go back to this point, but would Wu not have needed just at the right time a brilliant stategist who could have redressed Wu?


While I'm sure Sun Jian ruled Changsha capably, he isn't exactly known for his domestic successes. Perhaps you meant Sun Quan? In any case, Wu had talented generals until around the death of Lu Kang, and had Sun Hao not been so brutally incompetent Wu might have withstood the Jin invasion, had they taken any precautions whatsoever. However, most anyone who had any talent were purged by Sun Hao, so I doubt Zhou Yu, Lu Xun, or Nostradamus could have done anything to prevent Wu's demise.
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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:29 pm

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Well, my final impression here is that Wu as well as Wei, Shu and Han (and also Jin) were pretty much led to their downfall by the corruption and weakening of their leaders by their counsellors, and eunuchs.


Eh, weakness at the top did kill all five but I think corruption and factionalism is simplifying it quite a lot.

Though, Wu's fate sort of makes me uneasy. Zhou Yu, Lu Su, Lu Meng, Lu Xun, Lu Ba, Zhuge Jin, Cheng Pu, all these, and I surely forgot some, talented strategists, all these men of wise counsel, they could not drive Wu into antoher path, could not hinder its downgfall as Zhuge Liang or Sima Yi did, maybe they lived too early? Would Zhou Yu have been able to whistand the assaults of Jin? I suppose ill fate has a great part in this, for if these strategists had not died so early each, they may have changed the course of history...

Wu's attacks failed each time against Wei/Jin, does that mean that Wu's strategists were no match for those of Wei? You say they were aggressive, though the results were defeat each time, or when they won something it was quickly taken back.


Lu Ba? I would also question the description of Zhuge Jin and Cheng Pu as talented strategists. Actually, probably would say the same of Lu Su.

Remember Lu Meng and Lu Xun struggled to succeed in offensives against Wei, the difficultly of doing so was one argument Lu Meng used for changing course and invading Jing in 219. As others have pointed out, there were a lot of factors that prevented Wu from being able to make gains against Wei. A lot of things would have had to go Wu's way to make sustainable gains in the north, it did so in 219 for example, but when the rare chances did come, the talented but ego-filled Zhuge Ke messed up or Wu were simply too weak internally to seize the moment.

Sun Jian, I think was an enlightened ruler.


You mean Quan?

I can't help but feel sorry for the bad luck that made his successors be so bad. You may notice that Shu was in the same case, however Zhuge Liang maintained the Kingdom in a strong position. I always go back to this point, but would Wu not have needed just at the right time a brilliant stategist who could have redressed Wu?


I have to question how much Wu's best early miliatry figures like Lu Meng could have done when they struggled against Wei in their own life times. In truth, I think Wu needed a strong internal figure after Sun Quan died more then anything else. Shu didn't have a strong miliatry strategist but they survived for so long due to natural defenses, capable generals but also strength at the top. Liu Shan was not a strong figure but people were loyal to him and he had strong Prime Ministers in the Four Great Ministers (Liang, Jiang Wan, Fei Yi, Dong Yun), it provided a strong and stable base to ensure Shu's survival.

Wu's court was always filled with strong men but while Sun Quan was at his peak, he could control it. Once he declined and the heir situation exploded, they were in trouble. Once Quan was dead, they needed a Lu Xun or a Zhuge Liang to seize control of the administration, keep it in order and curb the factions until the Emperor was old enough. They had no strong, loyal figure and it slowly poisoned them inside as regent after regent was corrupt or killed, factions existed and so on.

Mind you, that would have been impossible under Sun Hao. The once bright hope had become extremely paranoid and that makes it impossible for a Lu Xun or a Zhang Zhao to be there. Wu's army still had some individual talent who held their position till Sun Hao's surrender but on the whole, talent kept their heads down so other Wu armies were poorly led and were brushed aside by Jin's mass invasion.
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Re: Wu's destiny

Unread postby Qu Hui » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:39 am

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Then, from what I gather from your answers, Sun Quan probably held this reflexion: " If I can make the Three Kingdoms system as Zhuge Liang foresaw it in his plan last, while Shu and Wei use up their forces against each other, I'll develop my economical strength, by expanding and developping rich provinces in the south. Then, when I shall be strong enough, I shall march on the weakest of my opponants and finally re-unite China by overwhelming the last Kingdom."

There's two problems with that. 1( Sun Quan barely knew who Zhuge Liang was historically. 2( The so-called "Longzhong Plan" was actually Lu Su's plan and it was suggested to Sun Quan years before Zhuge even entered service to anyone.
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