(For all 36 stratagems, click here: https://jineralknowledge.com/tag/thirtysix/?order=asc)
Chaos Stratagems are strategies that can be used to achieve victory when a war enters a chaotic state. Unlike the previous three chapters, the latter three chapters include tactics that can be used when the flow of war is against you.
Stratagem 19: Remove the firewood from under the pot
This tactic teaches that one should attack the foundation of the enemy’s confidence to shake them. Also, there is a second meaning that teaches to cut off their supplies. No matter how strong the enemy is, they will be crushed easily without any food.
Stratagem 20: Disturb the water and catch a fish
If you disorder the enemy so that they have no idea what is happening, you can easily attain victory.
Stratagem 21: Slough off the cicada’s golden shell
Make a change yet make it look like to the enemy that you have not. It is a strategy where you keep up a strong defence on the surface and exhibit a state of readiness to intimidate the enemy, while moving your forces to a different location.
Stratagem 22: Shut the door to catch the thief
If you block the enemy’s movement and surround them, you can easily decimate them. However, if they are strong enough this plan may have the opposite effect and cause them to retaliate with more ferocity, thus you should only employ it when the enemy is weak.
Stratagem 23: Befriend a distant state while attacking a neighbour
Countries that are close to you are bound to have many troubles and friction with you, therefore it is far wiser to use an ally who is further away to deal with your enemy.
Stratagem 24: Borrow a passage to strike Guo
This means that you should expand your territory when the opportunity is right by manipulating the weak. If you use the resources of a weak ally to strike the enemy, you can reduce the costs to your army while destroying the enemy, essentially killing two birds with one stone.