PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 December, 2008, 12:00am


by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark

Atlantic Books, HK$135

The book's title is revealing. Not only does the volume focus on the scary prospect of nuclear proliferation but also on the deception perpetrated by American and Pakistani leaders. Beginning with the story of Abdul Qadeer Khan, 'the father of the Islamic bomb', the authors describe the consequences of his theft of uranium-enrichment information in the 1970s. He enabled Pakistan to join 'the nuclear club' with the aid of US funds, then brokered the sale of the technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Citing moral lapses, abysmal judgments and failures of oversight, Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark show the hypocrisy of America's opposition to nuclear build-up and detail how every president from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush ignored Islamabad's nuclear activity. The authors say the presidents' justification was initially Pakistan's co-operation against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Then came September 11 and the war against al-Qaeda. Like other writers on the subject they use unnamed sources. But it does not dilute the book's message that the world is more dangerous because of nuclear-weapons conspiracies.