Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

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Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Sat May 10, 2014 5:58 am

Of the post Xiaoting situation in Shu?

Essentially, Zhuge Liang argued that the weakness of Shu called for a highly aggressive foreign policy, stating that staying on the defensive would get them nowhere. A lot of people have argued that Shu would have no chance in a protracted struggle with Wei, and should have stayed behind the Qinlings and waited for an opportunity.

Personally, I feel that in hindsight, it could have been possible to justify a "wait it out" strategy - Shu was effectively uninvadable from 220-265 (and the 265 invasion was a really close-run thing, literally everything went right for Deng Ai when he backdoored down Mian Zhu Pass and Zhong Hui was running out of supplies and Chang An to Hanzhong to deep within Shu isn't the ideal logistics situation - it definitely could and probably should have ended up in another Wei debacle, just like all the other Wei > Shu invasions). However, an aggressive foreign policy not only brings the possibility of big gains (especially how Zhuge Liang executed it) but probably needed to keep the Wu alliance credible.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat May 10, 2014 12:54 pm

I thought Zhuge Liang got the right balance. Shu could cope with the military camapigns, administration ran smoothly and he could try to make something happen. Shu is really up against it whatever it does but if it sits back, it is relying on Shu to be run well longer then Wei and Wu who have more resources, room for error and talent pool. It also relies on Wu holding off Wei by itself with Wei not able to commit more resources (doable) and Wei/Wu not seeing Yi as a potential key to victory. Which, while Shu can easily hold Hanzhong usually, is still putting Shu on the defensive, under pressure and at risk.

Careful camapigns to keep Wei forces split and guessing would play well with Wu, might help keep Wei from invading and one never knows what might happen. Zhuge Liang did manage to take two towns and there was always the possibility that something might go Shu's way though it was unlikely.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Sat May 10, 2014 4:19 pm

I wonder what needs to happen to maintain a functional Shu administration at least until 280? Eliminate Huang Hao and Jiang Wei for sure. It's entirely possible Jiang Wei killed Fei Yi, which is what eventually destroyed Shu, so you need to have him slip on the proverbial bar of soap. You need someone like Qiao Zhou or Dong Jue running the domestic side if possible. You don't even need to kill Huang Hao, just have there not be a power vacuum to step into because of Fei Yi/Jiang Wei's focus on the military.

If Wu falls in 280 and Shu's still a fairly efficient if resource-challenged state, could they possibly move in and take parts of Jing?
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby therob » Sat May 10, 2014 5:01 pm

it might've even been a good idea for shu to expand further southward. i know zhuge didn't really want to deal with supplying troops in yunnan, much less past it, but maybe shu could've established an emergency base in the southeast asian penninsula. wu already had power in vietnam, even if they couldn't really control it, but maybe shu would've had more luck.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Sat May 10, 2014 5:07 pm

I dunno; the southern barbarians were for the most part never loyal to Shu-Han except immediately after Zhuge Liang went south.

Actually it's rather amazing that Shu was able to fight campaigns against Wu and Wei with a decade long insurgency in the south.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby Aygor » Sun May 11, 2014 12:52 pm

To Establish Peace wrote:Essentially, Zhuge Liang argued that the weakness of Shu called for a highly aggressive foreign policy, stating that staying on the defensive would get them nowhere.

I agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment; Shu was smaller, had less manpower and resources: waiting would have only widened the gap with both Wu and Wei.
Shu had to choose between an unavoidable albeit postponable end and fiery gambles to gain land from Wei.

To Establish Peace wrote:Personally, I feel that in hindsight, it could have been possible to justify a "wait it out" strategy - Shu was effectively uninvadable from 220-265

How many invasions could have Shu fended off?
Had Wei launched several Kongming like Southern Campaigns, as it would have inevitably eventually happened, Shu would have not been able to resist.

To Establish Peace wrote:I wonder what needs to happen to maintain a functional Shu administration at least until 280? Eliminate Huang Hao and Jiang Wei for sure.

To mantain the fence-sitting policy of Jiang Wan and Fei Yi it would have been sufficient to appoint as Prime Minister a civilian officer rather than the most prominent military commander who had long intended to revive the aggressive policy of Zhuge Liang.

To Establish Peace wrote:It's entirely possible Jiang Wei killed Fei Yi, which is what eventually destroyed Shu, so you need to have him slip on the proverbial bar of soap.

I disagree with this view, Shu's position already was desperate.
Had your scenario realized we would be wondering if Shu could have had a chance with Jiang Wei resuming the Northern Campaigns rather than defending against Wei and eventually falling to attrition.

To Establish Peace wrote:If Wu falls in 280 and Shu's still a fairly efficient if resource-challenged state, could they possibly move in and take parts of Jing?

Had Wu fallen Shu's fate would have been sealed as Wu's was after Shu fell, Jing or not Jing.

therob wrote:it might've even been a good idea for shu to expand further southward. i know zhuge didn't really want to deal with supplying troops in yunnan, much less past it, but maybe shu could've established an emergency base in the southeast asian penninsula. wu already had power in vietnam, even if they couldn't really control it, but maybe shu would've had more luck.

The tribes in Yunnan were relentless and Chengdu had a hard time keeping them pacified: effectively conquering those lands and expanding southwards would have been a very troublesome and resource consuming policy which might have given Wei serious opportunities to invade.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun May 11, 2014 5:05 pm

To Establish Peace wrote:I wonder what needs to happen to maintain a functional Shu administration at least until 280? Eliminate Huang Hao and Jiang Wei for sure. It's entirely possible Jiang Wei killed Fei Yi, which is what eventually destroyed Shu, so you need to have him slip on the proverbial bar of soap. You need someone like Qiao Zhou or Dong Jue running the domestic side if possible. You don't even need to kill Huang Hao, just have there not be a power vacuum to step into because of Fei Yi/Jiang Wei's focus on the military.

If Wu falls in 280 and Shu's still a fairly efficient if resource-challenged state, could they possibly move in and take parts of Jing?


If Jiang Wei murdered his predecessor, or rather arranged for it, it would have been great propaganda for Wei/Jin and likely mentioned somewhat in the texts. I don't see how Fei Yi can be blamed for Huang Hao's rise

To survive, either Liu Shan to be more active and more inclined to sack people or one of the triumvirate (or Chen Zhi's successor) to be a skilful, moral figure who won't just sit back and watch the corruption. I'm not sure Qiao Zhou, who doesn't seem an administrator, or Dong Jue who was part of the corruption is best suited to run the administration but hard to see who can come in. Yan Yu maybe? Experienced and much respected figure.

Maybe Shu can take one or two parts of Jing but if Wu falls, Shu is dead.

therob wrote:it might've even been a good idea for shu to expand further southward. i know zhuge didn't really want to deal with supplying troops in yunnan, much less past it, but maybe shu could've established an emergency base in the southeast asian penninsula. wu already had power in vietnam, even if they couldn't really control it, but maybe shu would've had more luck.


Possibly. Depends how much resources Shu could afford to give. It took Wu a lot of resources and some of their best officers to expand south and it took a decade long camapign of starvation to bring the Shanyue to it's knees. Even if Shu could spare that time and effort, I'm not sure it could ever be seen as emergency base.

To Establish Peace wrote:
Actually it's rather amazing that Shu was able to fight campaigns against Wu and Wei with a decade long insurgency in the south.


Shu mostly just seemed to ignore it till after Liu Bei's death.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby To Establish Peace » Sun May 11, 2014 10:49 pm

Well, it's possible that Jiang Wei just escaped the rap. Sure there's no evidence, but killing Fei Yi because, in Jiang Wei's mind, he was holding Jiang back from greater glory actually does fit in his with personality. We do know they chafed at least a little bit, so who knows.

Also I thought Dong Jue wasn't really involved in it. Either way, the thing about is that most of the corrupt ministers were fairly talented but Huang Hao had so much power at that point that it was easier to just go along. Also Yan Yu is almost certainly a no, if he was going to take a stand against his friend's corruption he would have done it long ago.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon May 12, 2014 6:04 am

So Dong Jue, who held an important post in the capital and shielded Huang Hao, is alright given the circumstances but Yan Yu, popular and outside the capital but didn't act against the corrupt, isn't ok? I don't see why the first is ok but the second isn't, both failed to curb Huang Hao.
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Re: Do you agree with Zhuge Liang's strategic assessment...

Unread postby Jordan » Wed May 14, 2014 6:35 am

Zhuge Liang did fine. Shu-Han did not really lose much while he was Prime Minister. Jieting could have been a disaster, but Zhuge Liang managed to get somewhat lucky as Shu-Han troops were able to extricate themselves.

Jiang Wan and Fei Yi did fine too, for that matter. The situation in Shu really started to go to hell after they died. I don't really think that waiting around would have been a good idea. It would have allowed Wei to focus all their attention on Wu, destroy them and then probably easily take Shu-Han too.
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