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The Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Programme and Globalisation in the 1970s

6 Mar

sargent_ASTReading Daniel Sargent’s excellent recent book A Superpower Transformed provoked me to re-assess some of the framework supporting my own research into US-UK and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project in the 1970s. Sargent manages to crystalise some of the conclusions I was tentatively reaching towards, very handy as I work on the manuscript for my own book. One issue that formed a component of my work – but that I hadn’t made prominent enough – was globalisation. Not just globalisation in terms of markets, but in the emergence of modern transnational movements, networks, and ideas (such as human rights), and the significant role they played in US foreign policy.

Sargent’s thesis forced me to re-appraise the role that globalisation and transnationalism played in US-UK nuclear non-proliferation policy, and in Pakistan’s own clandestine bomb programme. The Pakistani nuclear weapons programme had a lengthy history, but only really emerged as an international issue after the catalytic Indian nuclear test of May 18 1974. This spurred Islamabad into action and gave leaders such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Muhammad Zia ul-Haq the necessary oppositional context to push forward a national nuclear programme.

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Britain, America, Nuclear Non-proliferation, and the Indian Jaguar Deal, 1974-1978

12 Dec

I’m delighted to say that my first published article has now appeared in the august journal, Cold War History. It’s examines a little known nuclear non-proliferation dispute between the UK and US, over Britain’s attempts to sell what were seen as “nuclear capable” Jaguar strike aircraft to the recently nuclearised India.

If you’re quick (and if you don’t have institutional access to CWH), you can download the article for free here.

Nuclear Terrorism in the Modern Seminar Room

9 Dec
Time

I have no idea what that cover image is actually meant to be.

Next semester, I will be making statements supporting the proliferation network of A Q Khan, the idea of an ‘Islamic bomb‘, and and means of conducting ‘nuclear terrorism‘. Give me a few weeks and I’ll have MI5 at my office door with a set of handcuffs and a whole series of  awkward questions. Or not, as is probably the case

Of course, I don’t actually agree with A Q Khan’s self-aggrandising nuclear proliferation motives. The idea of an ‘Islamic bomb’ is complicated and multilayered.(1) And I don’t support the use of nuclear weapons by anyone. But, I will be making ‘controversial’ statements in order to stir up debate and provoke discussion in my seminars for The United States and the Conundrum of Nuclear Proliferation.

I mention this because of the UK’s ongoing Prevent Strategy (hereafter just ‘Prevent’)to combat ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’. Universities, colleges, and schools are now – for David Cameron’s government at least – the front line in a battle against ‘extremist ideologies’. Prevent aims to cover all ‘extreme ideologies’, but in the current climate we all know what they’re really talking about.

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The United States and Nuclear Proliferation: An Undergraduate Course

10 Sep
Above: Donald Trump, noted non-proliferation theorist and proponent of sane of foreign policy positions.

Above: Donald Trump, noted non-proliferation theorist and proponent of sane foreign policy positions.

With debate about the Iranian nuclear deal still raging and everyone and their dog expressing an opinion (no matter how ill-informed, reactionary, or just plain stupid it might be), my new undergraduate course is alarmingly well-timed.

This year, I’m offering a new 4MA (fourth year honours, full year) course entitled The United States and the Problem of Nuclear Proliferation, 1945-2015 (hereafter USPNP). An outgrowth of my research interests and doctoral work, USPNP is my first attempt at a year-long course for the undergraduates in their final year. The class is relatively small (12-15 students) and there will have an intense focus on discussing and debating primary, secondary, and theoretical materials.

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Teaching the Nuclear Cold War: Conclusions

13 Jan

NCWIt’s well over a month now since the conclusion of my first foray into teaching honours-level history (and only a couple of days until I start teaching my second course). Time to take stock, to assess, and to examine the good and the bad. In this post, I aim to summarise the course, look at how things ended up when compared to how I imagined they would, and think about ways to improve the course for future offerings. Hopefully, this reflection and analysis will make me a better teacher and make the course better in future.

The Good

I was delighted to see students responding to my enthusiasm for nuclear history, engaging with subjects they had never studied before, and coming to their own considered conclusions. Furthermore, I was very pleased to see from the feedback that the course had encouraged many students to think more about contemporary nuclear issues and how they relate to the Cold War.

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Nuclear Identity Symposium, April 2015

8 Jan

greenham_1985577bI’m delighted to announce a Call for Papers for a symposium I’m organising!

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Nuclear Identity will take place in the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology (SHCA) at the University of Edinburgh on April 10, 2015. The event is co-hosted by the SHCA’s Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict and the British International Studies Association (BISA).

The workshop will be limited to 20 participants and short presentations of up to nine papers to stimulate discussion. The theme of ‘nuclear identity’ is broadly defined and can include (but is by no means limited to) how states, groups, and individuals identify as nuclear or anti-nuclear, how various forms of identity can be imposed or withdrawn, or how nuclear issues themselves are identified, codified, and analysed.

The purpose is to explore contemporary thinking on the past, present, and future of nuclear weapons from critical perspectives, foster links and dialogue between like-minded academics and research students, and stimulate collective thinking on a critical nuclear research agenda. The workshop welcomes participants from all disciplines, including (but not limited to) anthropology, history, international relations, political science, and sociology.

Postgraduate students are particularly welcomed, either presenting papers or as non-presenting attendees. Limited funds are available to postgraduate scholars to provide travel bursaries to defray the cost of attendance.

The full CfP can be found on the BISA Global Nuclear Order Working Group blog. If you have any queries, please do get in touch with me either here on the blog, or by email at: mcraig [at] staffmail [dot] ed [dot] ac [dot] uk

 

Teaching the Nuclear Cold War: Week 7, the 1960s & non-proliferation

4 Nov

I should open by saying that last week was probably pretty hellish for the students on my Nuclear Cold War course. Honours essays all tend to be due at roughly the same time. That means there were a lot of people having to write two or three 3000-word pieces at the same time. Challenging. And challenging from a pedagogical point of view as well: how do you approach a class where you that – for good reasons – students will not have devoted as much time to reading and preparation as they would in other weeks?

With that in mind, I approached the class a little differently. The first half would be devoted to student presentations and a brief discussion of nuclear proliferation. The second half was devoted to answering technical essay writing questions and… Continue reading

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