The phrase “divide and conquer” is confusing. “Divide then conquer” is better.
Divide then conquer is a strategy as old as war itself. The idea is to split your enemy into two or more competing factions. It is then easy to join with one and conquer the other,or just to let the two sides fight it out and weaken each other.
This is the Putin and Jinping strategy in America. Fighting America head on is a suicide mission. But pitting right vs left, young vs old, Republican vs Democrat, and black vs white against each other is working.