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This was a fairly old story, probably 1950s at the latest (since I believe I listened to it on Librivox) It was fairly short, either a short story or novella.

There was some kind of recurring interstellar war with another species who were technologically inferior, but really good at negotiating and always managed to put loopholes to their advantage in the peace settlements that humans wouldn't notice. In the story the humans got together a group of patients with mental disabilities, such as acute paranoia, that allowed them to see all the loopholes when the other humans couldn't.

  • I could have sworn this has been asked here before, but my searching has failed to find any previous question. – John Rennie Oct 25 '17 at 8:45
  • A search also doesn't find any reference to Philip K. Dick's Clans of the Alphane Moon, which has a loosely related theme. It definitely isn't the story being asked about here, but it seems worth mentioning: "On Alpha III M2, psychiatric diagnostic groups have differentiated themselves into caste-like pseudo-ethnicities. The inhabitants have formed seven clans: The Pares are people suffering from paranoia. They function as the statesman class." – user46249 Oct 25 '17 at 10:47

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