Following on from A.Q. Khan’s angry letter about British television, here’s another snippet that didn’t make it into the final version of the thesis.
Throughout the mid-to-late 1970s, successive US administrations attempted to use arms sales as a means of shifting Pakistan from the nuclear path. During this period, the weapon system that was always a major sticking point was the advanced A-7 attack aircraft. The Pakistanis wanted it. The Americans didn’t want them to have it. Then they did. Then they didn’t. Then they did. And so on ad infinitum.
Some things that you find in archives are just downright odd. One curious find that, in the end, did not make it into my thesis was a rambling letter in tiny script that I found in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office records at The National Archives, Kew. This letter was written by none other than Abdul Qadeer ‘A.Q.’ Khan, probably the most famous nuclear proliferator of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Now that the thesis is handed in, the mind of the aspiring academic turns to other things. Like, what now? I’m lucky enough to have secured some honours-level teaching here at the University of Edinburgh. It’s great in that I get to design my own courses and see how they stand up in practice.
The first course I’m working on rejoices under the snappy title of Confrontation, Proliferation, Representation: The Nuclear Cold War in Policy and in Public, 1945 to 1989 (see, I told you it was snappy).