Shi

Concept

The concept of shi (势) is at the heart of Chinese strategy and translate to 'alignment of forces' that involves not only taking advantage of the natural circumstances but also creating circumstances that naturally lead to the outcome you want.

Crucially shi, requires not only reading shi before your opponent, but also actively deceiving them into complacency.

Application

Mao cited China's fail to read shi in the 1950s and 60s, when the Soviets discovered China's plan to usurp the USSR's leadership in the Communist world, China lost opportunities to get FDI, trade opportunities, military technology, or political support.