[FOUNTAIN]Crafty political actionThe east area of Baoji in Sanxi Province was once called Jinchang. Liu Bang, the Chinese hero later known as the Gaozu of Han, the founder of the Han Dynasty, at that time locked horns over the crown of imperial China with another hero, Xiang Yu. Liu Bang settled at the southeast end of Jinchang, the place called Xianyang, after being defeated by Xiang Yu. Jinchang was a strategic point for transportation that connected Guanzhong, which included Xian, then the center of China, and the current province of Xichuan.
Liu Bang accepted the advice of his right-hand man, Zhang Liang, in order to gain military advantage. Thus Liu Bang started a fire on the wooden road on a cliff when he moved from Guanzhong to Hanzhong, as an indication that he had no intention to invade Guanzhong.
Yet it turned out to be a machination to mask his real intentions and thereby divert his rival’s attention. After being driven to Xianyang, Liu Bang asserted that he would fix the road he burned. Yet it was only to send troops via Jinchang and ambush Guanzhong. Later this attack consolidated a foundation to build a dynasty.
This story is the source of a Chinese proverb that says, “What appears to repair the road in truth devastates Jinchang.”
It is not just a widely used strategy to deceive one’s enemy, but it also one of the famous 36 strategies, the masterpiece of Chinese machination.
Machination is a means to achieve an end. An example of machination is shown in “Journey to the West.” Without the accomplished martial arts of the Monkey, Sun Wukong, the Buddhist monk Xuanzang would have been nothing but a piece of flesh evil creatures hunger for. Likewise, Sun Wukong would have been a monkey with a bad habit to steal peaches from the Palace of Heaven, had it not been for the name the Buddhist monk gives him.
In other words, a machination becomes a mere plot when it lacks a cause. It is also to say that the best machination is to read and to be responsive to public opinion.
The time of political machination came with a series of talks regarding the constitutional amendment initiated by the president, fractions within the ruling party, and the upcoming presidential election.
The first worry is that politicians would not care about the international circumstances of Korea and the concerns of people. In order not to disappoint people with narrow-minded plots, politicians should be more attentive to people’s concerns and international trends.
*The writer is the Beijing correspondent of JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yoo Kwang-jong
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