"You can never over-estimate the sheer ingenuity that cowards are capable of bringing to a task. If it's important enough to them, they can outsmart you every time." (262)
significance: Nigel is warning David that the U.S. government, like Nigel's friend Sergei (who he is describing) will likely come up with a way to avoid participating in the crisis in Kutar. As it turns out, he was correct.
At this point in the story, the American reporter Stewart has decided that the only way to bring awareness to the ongoing crisis is to discover what is truly going on beyond the ridge in the KPLA's camp. Obviously this is a very risky idea, considering the fact that the rebels are supposedly terrorists who might resort to genocide, and wouldn't have a problem killing him. I'm glad that someone has decided to take a more dramatic action, rather than sit on the rooftop like David and Amira, or constantly argue, as Paolo and the Contessa do. I found that this decision has definitely intrigued me; in the past, I would have no trouble putting this book down once i had finished a section. however, i'm now finding it harder to stop as the story (halfway in) is finally beginning to gain weight. Unfortunately, there are still another 9 days (in waiting for the Esmerelda to come and go with news) in the story left until he departs; I imagine David will go with him, (or so i hope) because if he doesn't, then I'll again be left waiting for something to happen. This book is somewhat slow when it comes to developing, as a sense of boredom, censorship, and distant oppression creep in. Interestingly enough, this slower literary approach has more realistically created the feelings that the characters are experiencing; there is nothing "safe" to talk about that won't stir up uncomfortable feelings, so conversations are dull. People can't go on adventures much, as the streets aren't safe (Nigel was shot just walking to the palace) and the citizens aren't very lively, as they have to live in fear.