Liu Bei and the Riverlands

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Liu Bei and the Riverlands

Unread postby Devilrai » Fri Feb 13, 2004 8:44 am

I would just like to get your thought on this topic, should Liu Bei have invaded the Riverlands and taken over Shu?
It would have made a big differance if he did or didn't have decided to invade the Riverlands or not. If he didn't Liu Bei would have had a major problem with Sun Quan and Jingzhou, and also he could have not got Ma Chao, but as we know Liu Bei did invade the Riverlands and he lost one of the best strategiest around; Pang Tong. There is alot of other possibilities, these are just a few. So do you think it was a good idea or a bad mistake?

I personally think Liu Bei made a good choice, even though he was invading Liu Zhangs territories, and he lost Pang Tong...But for some losses; there are great gains Liu Bei got himself a kigdom, great officers like Meng Da, Zhang Song, Fa Zheng and of course Ma Chao. Liu Bei made a good choice, he made Shu into a powerful kingdom that could match against the forces of Wu and Wei.

Your thoughts...thank you
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Unread postby Six_and_Up » Fri Feb 13, 2004 11:37 am

Firstly just to clarify, didnt Fa Zheng join with Liu Bei before his campaigns in Yizhou? I remember Fa Zheng and Pang Tong both encouraging Liu Bei to kill Liu Zhang in the banquet.

Anyway back to Liu Bei's decision to take over the lands of Shu, it was not really a choice, more like forfilling the requirements of the Longzhang plan. However, if Liu Bei doesnt attack and takeover Shu, where is the most viable option other that that? The only other options i see are going for Hanzhong or leading an attack on Fan to take back the tiny area of Jing that Wei has under its control and possiby strike at Xuchang. Both options would work well. If Liu Bei invades Hanzhong and succeeds, Liu Zhang is surrounded by Liu Bei and thus will be in position to fight. If he attacks Wei and goes for Fan then it effectively screws Wei over because if they succeed then the main cities in the north are all at risk of being attacked
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Unread postby Andrew » Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:51 pm

I'm 99% sure Fa Zhang was working for Liu Bei, although I believe he was still working for Liu Zhang.

Without Yi, Liu Bei would crumble, he was basically a prisonner in Jing, with Sun Quan Cao Cao, Southern Viets and Zang Lu all around him.

The loss of Pang Tong well at the time looked small, but that effect could change many things. Konming could stay with Guan Yu, they could fight of Cao and Lu Meng. If that happens no need to attack Wu, so they point there eyes north and with two able stratigists make to campaigns. So I really don't know, both are good choices.
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Fri Feb 13, 2004 2:35 pm

Invading Yizhou was a good idea! even Kongming, Fa Zheng, Pang tong and Meng Da said it. Liu Bei needed LAnd and Liu Zhang was a weak ruler, Liu Bei's Virtue already attracted the people in the Yi province, Remember most of the officers in the Yi province submited to Liu Bei in the end? If Liu Bei did not take the province Zhang Lu, Cao Cao and Sun Quan will.
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Unread postby Chao Yun » Fri Feb 13, 2004 4:15 pm

I think it was a good idea because Liu Bei needed the land and could have taken it alot more easily had he just listened to Pang Tong.
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Unread postby Wizardman » Fri Feb 13, 2004 10:05 pm

Let's see. If there was a very weak ruler who you could easily beat, and you needed some land, would you attack? Liu Bei did what was right. He would not only get the land he needed, and not only did the strategists agree, but he you get support from the people, considering Liu Zhang wasn't exactly a popular ruler. I think it was a great idea in this sense.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Fri Feb 13, 2004 11:09 pm

I agree w/ 6&up that Liu Bei *had to* take over the Riverlands. It is the fulfillment of the Longzhong plan, and even the Wu advisor Lu Su predicted the world would be split in three: the north, the Southlands, and someone in Shu area. And Hanzhong is a crucial area too--that's where the first emperor of Han built the foundation of the empire. Liu Bei's biggest screw up was not being able to secure Hanzhong before Cao Cao got to it and transferrred all resources away from it.

However, there's really no way to take Hanzhong all the way from Jingzhou. That's even worse than Zhou Yu's plan to take the Riverlands all the way from Wu.

Liu Bei had a moral concern about kicking Liu Zhang out, but that was not the time for moral concerns to come into play. Like I said in another thread, if Liu Bei had to hold tight onto his moral precepts, there'd be a fundamental conflict between him and the Longzhong plan, and it'd be better if he went back to selling shoes. It's too bad he hesitated in taking the Riverlands, letting the Riverland loyals to build a resistance force. If he had adopted Pang Tong's plan and took over Shu before anyone realised that it was too late, Pang Tong wouldn't have died, more of the Riverland resources could have been gathered into Liu Bei's rule (rather than wasted in the long battles), and he could have taken Hanzhong in time.
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Unread postby Devilrai » Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:59 am

Thank you all for your thoughts, just some stuff I would like to ask:

Wizardman wrote:Let's see. If there was a very weak ruler who you could easily beat, and you needed some land, would you attack? Liu Bei did what was right.


Even though he did the right thing, but attacking a realative...don't you think that is going too far for your own needs?

Six_and_Up wrote:Firstly just to clarify, didnt Fa Zheng join with Liu Bei before his campaigns in Yizhou? I remember Fa Zheng and Pang Tong both encouraging Liu Bei to kill Liu Zhang in the banquet.


Yes, Fa Zheng did join Liu Bei before the campaigns, so he did gain an officer through Liu Zhang.

And Lady Wu...I don't know you that well but I'm guessing that you dont really like Shu and Liu Bei?
Last edited by Devilrai on Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:35 am

Blue Moon Samurai wrote:And Lady Wu...I'm don't know you that well but I'm guessing that you dont really like Shu and Liu Bei?

Heh, did that come through in my previous post? :P

I was just trying to be objective there. At that time, Liu Bei was trying to revive Han while holding only a few strategically useless commanderies in southern Jingzhou. If he really wanted to do something great (i.e. reunite the world), he had to have some foothold to develop. Zhuge Liang's plan (taking Yizhou and Jingzhou, then have a 2-prong attack one out from Hanzhong/Qinchuan and one from Longzhong) was the best one out there, and the fact that Lu Su suggested that someone will be the third leg of the tripod by securing the Riverlands also shows that it really was the most logical line of action for Liu Bei.

Now, reality is painful and Liu Bei knew it. On one hand, he had to keep up the image of being nice and virtuous (I'm not necessarily saying that he's really not nice and virtuous) in order to attract people to himself (have the love of the people as the Longzhong plan said). This means he shouldn't attack Liu Zhang. However, if he didn't attack Liu Zhang, he couldn't expand and hope to re-establish a nice and virtuous rule over the empire. So you see he had a pretty bad dilemma.

With hindsight, we can say that he should have decided one way or another. Either he takes Pang Tong/Fa Zheng/Zhang Song's advice and boot Liu Zhang as soon as he could, or give up on the Riverlands altogether. The problem was that he hesitated... he didn't want to tarnish his image, but his troops were in the Riverlands already. Thus Zhang Song's plot had time to leak and Liu Bei had to fight some hard battles to win over the land.

If he really wanted to stay virtuous and upright, he should have left Liu Zhang alone and (a) call it a day and go home to shoe-making; or (b) enduring being in Wu's backyard, slowly build up strength to attack Wu in the back when they're not watching (like when Wu's tied up in Hefei or something).

He didn't really have that many options there. Ultimately he had to do the "immoral" thing for attacking his relative, so why not sooner rather than later?
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Unread postby Iain » Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:05 am

I think that Liu Bei was too concerned with how others perceived him, his hesitation in acting too rashly and being judged for his actions seemed to eat away at him in the Romance books.
(From Romance of the Three Kingdoms Chapter 60)
"You know these surroundings---Sun Quan in the east and Cao Cao in the north---, and with them you cannot attain your ends. Now before you lies a populous, fertile, and rich land, a base with the greatest possibilities. You have the promise of assistance from two men within, and it seems like a gift of providence. Why hesitate?"

"Now there are two men in the world as mutually antagonistic as fire and water. My opposite is Cao Cao. He is impetuous and I am long suffering; he is cruel and I am humane; he feigns while I am true. In all particulars I act the direct contrary to him. I refuse to risk the loss of the confidence and trust of the world for a trifling advantage

These words were apparantly actually said by Liu Bei (according to Pang Tong's SGZ) and they sum up Liu Bei's feelings like no other passage I feel.
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