The Strategy of Beautiful Women
Send your enemy beautiful women to cause discord within his camp. This strategy can work on three levels. First, the ruler becomes so enamored with the beauty that he neglects his duties and allows his vigilance to wane. Second, other males at court will begin to display aggressive behavior that inflames minor differences hindering co-operation and destroying morale. Third, other females at court, motivated by jealousy and envy, begin to plot intrigues further exasperating the situation.
Han Dynasty China
In 199 BC the Han emperor, Gaozu personally led his army against the invading Xiongnu. The emperor, however, was no match against the cunning tribesmen and he was led into a trap and suffered serious casualties. (See chapter 15) He and his remaining forces retreated to the city of Pingcheng for refuge but were surrounded by some 300,000 horsemen. There the emperor remained surrounded for seven days with no possibility of bringing in either provisions or reinforcements. The emperor thought here was nothing left to do but surrender when his advisor, Chen Ping, came up with another strategy. Chen had a painting made of a beautiful Chinese princess that he secretly delivered to the wife of the Xiongnu commander. Along with the painting he sent a message that read: `My Emperor intends to surrender to your husband and so to win his favor he is sending him a present of one of China's famous beauties to be his concubine.' When the Xiongnu commander's wife saw the painting and read the note she was mad with jealousy. Fearing that such a beautiful rival would steal her husband's affections, she persuaded her husband to lift the siege and return home. The next morning when the emperor awoke he discovered the Xiongnu had left and he was able to return safely to his capital.