If anyone is wondering whether one should or should not buy it, my verdict so far is that one should most definitely buy it. This book provides details and explanations that will not only help non-Muslims understand Muhammad (as seen and believed in by Muslims) but also help them understand crucial elements of Islam.
I am a little more than half-way done. I will review the book in detail once I am done. Until then, I recommend this book: it already has my seal of approval, as it were, and this because of what I have read and not because I trust Robert Spencer (I have two other books by him) and respect him as an author and commentator.
“Predictability” by Spook86 of In From the Cold reminds me that one of the advantages of the North Korean situation is that North Korea is predictable or, at least, consistent. They go through the same cycles (maybe because these cycles get the world’s attention) of threats, appeasement, backing down, and then starting all over again.
Perhaps one mistake The United States made was giving in, apparently taking advantage of one of North Korea’s appeasement/backing down stages to get some sort of agreement or settlement. Of course, it was not long before that turned out to be a waste of time. Unfortunately, The Government has taken such steps a number of times, which reinforces North Korea’s belief in the usefulness of their tactics (bluster, backing down, et cetera). And if The Government doesn’t bite the bait, so to speak, the North Koreans will dismiss it as a consequence of some foolhardy/obstinate politician, and will simply wait until he or she is replaced. What needs to happen is a systematic and thorough policy of not engaging North Korea in this manner and then to make them realize that this policy is not because the whim of some politician or leader but because it is The United States’ doctrine. Only then will real progress or movement occur.
Or we can wait for Kim Jongil to fall from power (by death, a coup, et cetera). It will be some time before his successor consolidates his position, if one successor rises to the top. Just as he waits for one leader to be replaced by another, we can also wait for him to be removed from power. Until then, the same games will be played.