This is an interesting one, and has seen several different forms and authors, possibly as far back as Alexander the Great. But let’s give Talleyrand the benefit of the doubt for now. Those Talleyrand served often distrusted him, and his name has become a byword for crafty, cynical diplomacy. So, is he using misdirection here? Maybe he was alluding to the British soldiers as lions, and their generals as sheep, although I have also heard the phrase lions led by donkeys. I think the point here, though, is that strong soldiers led by a weak leader are less to be feared than weak soldiers led by a strong leader. It is the strength of the leadership that really matters.
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