Bertrand Russell, one of my favorite writers and thinkers, had some good ideas and some terrible ones. In his 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, he urged enlightened self-interest as a path to a better world.
Among the problems with that thesis is that we don’t understand what many nations — or their people with whom we also have to deal — view as in their own self-interests. Accordingly, we often have problems in deciding what to do about them in our own self-interest. Commonly, they have even less adequate understandings of the nature of our interests. Sometimes we appear to encourage their wrong-headed notions.
With inadequate understandings, how can we deal with them effectively in our own best interests? This article attempts to explore the question.