|A big kingdom can be compared to the lower part of a river, like the low ground which all streams flow down towards.|
Here is a point towards which all things under heaven converge. Its part must be that of the woman
who overcomes man by simple quietude. By [such as] quiescence she gets underneath, and by tranquillity she is down under.
A big kingdom can take over [a soul of] a small one if it succeeds in getting itself below the small kingdom; If so it absorbs some from the small country, or wins some adherence of the small kingdom in the open.
If a small country on the other hand places itself below a big country, it can absorbs or take over some of the big country [assets]. Therefore some place themselves low so as to take over or absorb (others). Some are (naturally) low and absorb (others). Because small kingdoms are by nature in this way underneath large kingdoms, they [sometimes] win the adherence of large kingdoms [or end].
What a big kingdom is after is but to annex and herd others. So what large countries really need is a lot of inhabitants. What small countries need is some place where their surplus inhabitants can go and get employment. What they want can be little more that to join, be somewhat sheltered and perhaps serve for it all.
Both can have what they want; I say the large kingdom must "get underneath".