A vainglorious, unscrupulous nuclear scientist; an unstable Asian state in which the strings of power are pulled by a ruthless military caste; and a superpower that consistently scores foreign policy own goals: the ingredients of a thriller, you might think. But this is a work of non-fiction, an important story told in a readable, although highly detailed way by two Guardian investigative journalists. The United States, obsessed by the Russians in Afghanistan, then Iraq and now Iran, consistently turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s growing nuclear capacity. American funds designed for anti-Russian insurgency were diverted to the bomb project. Much of Iran’s nuclear programme, about which the Americans are so paranoid, can be sourced to Pakistan. Even worse, an increasingly fundamentalist Pakistan military has bankrolled and supported Sunni irregulars, jihadists, the Taliban and al-Qaeda.