One of the reasons why nuclear weapons, despite their destructive capacity, still excite Nuclear Weapon States (NWSs) and Non Nuclear Weapon States (NNWSs), is the continuous success of bilateral deterrence between nuclear dyads. It is difficult to deny that catastrophic eventualities have been averted due to the possession of nuclear weapons by conflicting parties. It is the deterrence value of nuclear weapons that has made them the last resort for states who are faced with a grave security threat. Nuclearized states like Pakistan bore their teeth and justified it by positing that the absolute weapon acts as a deterrent against states who pose existential threats . However ,this security-centric rationale was and is not convincing enough for the recognized NWSs like the United States. Therefore , Washington has, over the years ,been at loggerheads with nuclear proliferants. Pakistan was certainly one of those proliferants that evoked US’ proliferation concerns. The vacillating Pak-US relations had a nuclear dimension attached. One of the grievances that Pakistan has had is that the US did all it could to stop Pakistan from going nuclear while it let India off the hook. This view has permeated and become part of the overall abandonment narrative which portrays the US as a fickle ally. The narrative has gone unchallenged and mostly taken on face value due to the dearth of academic literature on how the US dealt with a Pakistan that was bent upon acquiring a force equalizer. Dr.Rabia Akhtar’s recently-published book “The Blind Eye: US Non-Proliferation Policy Towards Pakistan From Ford to Clinton , is the first scholarly account of US non proliferation policy viz Pakistan across administrations and decades. Apart from being an important contribution to literature on Pakistan’s nuclear program and US approaches towards nuclear non proliferation , the book underscores the vitality of archival research and using primary sources to validate or negate hypotheses.Focusing on five administrations and a period of two and a half decades, the work challenges long held axioms by bringing new knowledge to the fore. One of the most important points that the book makes is that no Pakistani leader compromised on the country’s nuclear program. Against all the odds, Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders remained firmly committed to achieving strategic parity with India. This counters analyses that link the age old civil military debate with Pakistan’s nuclear program . This research-laden book sheds light on the fact that right from Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to Nawaz Sharif, no leader succumbed to pressure and adroitly navigated the country to become a nuclear weapon state. The top men were ably aided by dexterous military officers and diplomats who negotiated and adeptly eked out what the country needed. The author writes about how deftly Pakistani officials exacted more than what they bargained for. The receipt of F 16 aircraft and the promulgation of the Brown Amendment are some of the examples cited by the author which show how skilfully Pakistan got a great bite at the cherry. The analysis is instructive for the future, for it certifies that anything related to nuclear weapons will galvanize the country and it will not cave into pressure. The Blind Eye is an academic acknowledgement of those who contributed meritoriously towards getting a deterrent for Pakistan.The vacillating Pak-US relations had a nuclear dimension attached. One of the grievances that Pakistan has had is that the US did all it could to stop Pakistan from going nuclear while it let India off the hookThis evidence-rich work disturbs the patron-client model that is so nonchalantly ascribed to Pak-US relations. Rabia’s research shows that Pakistan was a tough negotiator especially when it came to augmenting its security. According to this book, it was Pakistan that called upon the US to “do more”, something which it did. The author terms Pakistan’s politico-diplomatic efforts as something right out of Machiavelli’s playbook which were essential in order to safeguard its vital interests. Pakistan must not shy away from accepting what it did to get the bomb. If anything , extracting concessions from powerful states is the epitome of diplomacy. This also dispels the myth that Islamabad-Washington ties have remained lopsided. In the scheme of things , Pakistan has held its own and used its levers against the US. This analysis blends well with the main thrust of Rabia’s Blind Eye argument . The author argues that despite actionable intelligence about the status of Pakistan’s nuclear program, the US turned a blind eye and rewarded Pakistan by taking advantage of clauses in legislation like the Pressler Amendment. The US administrations braved through congressional opposition and circumvented incriminating evidence in a bid to keep Pakistan aligned to its Cold War objectives. However, the compelling evidence that Rabia has collected after years of research repudiate Pakistan’s litany of accusations against the US. Even after the Pressler Amendment was invoked , efforts were made by the US to keep the aid flowing to Pakistan, notwithstanding the changed categories. US’ dilly dallying and inability to enforce its non proliferation policy , allowed Pakistan to quietly go about its business. By the time the US foisted sanctions after the end of the Afghan War, Pakistan was on the cusp of becoming a nuclearized state. Thus, the birth of the 7th NWS is also owed to how the US prioritised its other foreign policy goals over non-proliferation. The discernible discrepancy between the lofty goals and the policies to halt proliferation on part of the US, as lucidly highlighted in the book , has serious implications for the non proliferation regime. Much to its credit, Pakistan pounced on every opportunity that came its way and fully exploited loopholes in US’ policies. If the US makes prospective proliferants believe that non proliferation is one of its secondary goals that is up for bargain, the non proliferation regime will be challenged. This also endangers its even otherwise questionable alliance commitments and its ability to stem proliferation .Besides being a rich addition to nuclear scholarship, Rabia’s work also showcases the inherent strengths and potential of Pak-US relations . Given that the US is an important stakeholder in the region , this book chronicles how assiduous diplomacy can help both countries get along despite fissures. Also, the proclivity of the US to change its goalposts, provides an opportunity for Pakistan to position itself in a way which makes it realize its interests.However, Rabia’s work underlines some missing links .Firstly, the fact that it is the first scholarly critique of a topic of such great importance, goes on to show the state of academia in Pakistan. The author has brought the hitherto unwritten aspects to light by sifting through a plethora of documents from five Presidential libraries and those of lawmakers who were at the center stage of US’ non proliferation drive against Pakistan. The author has done an academic indictment of US’ non proliferation not on the basis of rhetoric but through quality research. If Pakistanis are to take on the misrepresentation of their country ,they have to bolster their academic and intellectual response. Rabia has shown exactly how it is and should be done. Hence, the book becomes a must-read for not only those dealing with non proliferation but also those who are involved in managing complexities in inter-state relations.Published in Daily Times, November 11th 2018.