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America and the Islamic Bomb: The Deadly Compromise Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Steerforth (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586421379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586421373
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,474,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This chilling exposé from National Security News Service bureau chief Armstrong and author Trento (The Secret History of the CIA) chronicles American foreign policy in relation to nuclear weapons development worldwide, and particularly in Pakistan. Beginning with Truman's Atomic Energy Act of 1946 and ending with George W. Bush's hunt for nonexistent WMDs in Iraq, the history is as interesting as it is infuriating. Operating under Cold War paranoia in the 1960s and '70s, the U.S saw Pakistan as a conveniently located ally and so, in addition to providing hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, helped jumpstart the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, which gave the country its nuclear capabilities. What followed was decades of mismanagement, culminating in the revelation that Pakistani national hero A.Q. Khan was deeply involved in the nuclear black market; the authors contend that the U.S government knew all about Khan's negotiations with Libya, Iran and North Korea, but ignored it to keep Pakistan an ally, first against the Communists and now in the "War on Terror." This accessible history should raise awareness of the many devil's bargains that the U.S. has struck in the seemingly vain hope of keeping control over perhaps the greatest man-made threat to humanity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Provide[s] essential information for understanding the nuclear dangers posed by Pakistan." The New York Review of Books

"A chilling account of the political calculus that led five successive US presidents to turn a blind eye" to Pakistan's nuclear smuggling. — The Christian Science Monitor

"This chilling exposé chronicles American foreign policy in relation to nuclear weapons development worldwide, and particularly in Pakistan. Beginning with Truman's Atomic Energy Act of 1946 and ending with George W. Bush's hunt for nonexistent WMDs in Iraq, the history is as interesting as it is infuriating. Operating under Cold War paranoia in the 1960s and '70s, the U.S. saw Pakisatn as a conveniently located ally and so, in addition to providing hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, helped jumpstart the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, which gave the country its nuclear capabilities. What followed was decades of mismanagement, culminating in the revelation that Pakistani national hero A.Q. Khan was deeply involved in the nuclear black market; the authors contend that the U.S. government knew all about Khan's negotiations with Libya, Iran and North Korea, but ignored it to keep Pakistan an ally, first against the Communists and now in the 'War on Terror.' This accessible history should raise awareness of the many devil's bargains that the U.S. has struck in the seemingly vain hope of keeping control over perhaps the greatest man-made threat to humanity." — Publishers Weekly

Learn more at www.islamicbomb.org

"Armstrong and Trento argue convincingly that Pakistan's leaking and selling of atomic secrets across the region have increased nuclear proliferation by 'small, weak states' and the likelihood of 'terrorists or unfriendly regimes getting their hands on an atomic device.' The United States 'aided and abettted' this exchange by remaining allied to Pakistan, which harbored one of the worst culprits, A.Q. Khan, leader of a nuclear smuggling ring, and by not taking a stronger stance against nuclear proliferation. . . . Written by experienced journalists . . . combines research with a journalistic flair. . . . and invites a wide readership from a lay audience." — Library Journal

“ . . . a ground-level look at the operational failures of U.S., British and other intelligence services in assessing the Khan network. . . . David Armstrong and Joseph Trento reveal multiple scuttled investigations and chronicle the infighting within several U.S. administrations, beginning under Reagan in the 1980s, over what to do about Khan and, more broadly, Pakistan, whose cooperation was deemed vital in fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Rivetingly, Armstrong and Trento also recount the deals that Khan made . . . to supply uranium centrifuges to several countries. And they tell the story of . . . a successful British effort to uproot the tentacles of Khan's illicit purchasing network from Malaysia to Spain and France.”
Washington Post Book World

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on November 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden is far more popular than George Bush, possesses a nuclear arsenal built with technology from the U.S. and Europe, and financed with the help of one of America's allies (eg. Saudi Arabia; also Iran and Libya) in the Muslim world. America's supportive role began with President Carter, and has continued through President Bush. We turned a blind eye to gain Pakistan's cooperation in the Cold War and the War on Terror.

Pakistan began its nuclear work in the 1970s, pursuing the use of plutonium chemically reprocessed from spent reactor fuel. The re-processor was to be courtesy of France, the reactor and technical assistance from the U.S. and Canada. This initial effort foundered on technical difficulties and international wariness.

Alternatives included gaseous diffusion (used by the U.S., France, China, and Russia in their initial work - involves passing gaseous uranium through a series of thousands of membranes), and centrifugal enrichment using newly developed 70,000 rpm centrifuges within a consortium in Holland. Pakistan was under considerable pressure at the time, having just lost its foray into Kashmir and India's demonstration of a successful A-bomb. Thus, the timing was perfect for A.Q. Khan, a Pakistani working at the Holland site who had made copies of all the technical material and was anxious to lead a Pakistani nuclear effort. Pakistan welcomed him back; the timing was fortuitous for him as well - Holland had just figured that he was a spy, and was watching him closely after the CIA talked them out of arresting him.

Clearly, the U.S. was aware of Khan's interests and potential even before he began working in Pakistan, and President Carter had restricting nuclear access high on his agenda.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Harris on June 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This timely book is the only full account you'll find of the US role in what has become our greatest security threat, nuclear terrorism.

Reading this has helped me better understand the complicated situation in the Middle East, not an easy feat. And despite the heavy subject, it's so well written that it's an enjoyable read.

The authors clearly document how a series of failed US policies have led to our current situation. Every US administration since Eisenhower has placed short-term foreign policy concerns ahead of a commitment to curbing nuclear weapons. This has allowed Pakistan to first develop, and then sell, weapons of mass destruction. It began as part of a Cold War effort to counter the Soviet Union's influence. The US actually armed Islamic extremists; since these extremist groups later became the Taliban and Al Qaeda, we're partly responsible for their existence.

Our world today is far more dangerous than in the Cold War. Despite President Bush's claim to have stopped the AQ Khan network, most of its members are now free. There is evidence that Pakistan's nuclear proliferation and smuggling continue, so opportunity exists for religious extremists and rogue regimes to acquire WMD.

Because of misguided US strategies, we now live in a world where terrorists can acquire nuclear weapons. This, Armstrong concludes, is "the new balance of terror."
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