11.55

Chapter: The Nine Situations 11.55
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Translation:

Hence he does not strive to ally himself with all and sundry, nor does he foster the power of other states. He carries out his own secret designs, keeping his antagonists in awe. Thus he is able to capture their cities and overthrow their kingdoms.

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Commentary

Creating easy alliances makes one dependent on allies, who may themselves be quite unpredictable in warfare.

Secrecy is much more difficult when allies are involved. If you cannot be sure with your own people, what hope that allies will keep secrets?

Finally, if a general can succeed without allies, then their reputation will soar and their enemies will quake in fear.