Liverpool Skyline

Humanities and Social Science

Dr Malcolm Craig


Broadly, my main research interests lie in US and UK foreign policy in the post-1945 period, with a particular focus on national security, nuclear weapons, and secret intelligence. In a recent article, I argued that – contrary to what we might believe to be the case – US nuclear non-proliferation policy in the 1970s and early 1980s was seldom influenced by fear of the so-called ‘Islamic bomb’. This was the idea that if one Muslim nation (for example, Pakistan) developed nuclear weapons, they would automatically share it with other Muslim nations because of the bonds of faith. Through my research, I’ve managed to demonstrate that such notions were set aside by US presidents and senior foreign policy makers.

This kind of stuff has a direct impact on the world around us. The idea of the ‘Islamic bomb’ still infects media reporting on the nuclear activities of Iran and Pakistan. Yet, it’s always been something of a myth. So why does it persist? That’s what my current research focuses on, looking at how the ‘Islamic bomb’ idea (or meme, if you prefer) evolved during the 1980s, the 1990s, and into the 2000s.

My current research investigates US and UK nuclear non-proliferation policy directed towards the 'greater Middle East' from 1970 to 1992. Fundamental to this is the investigation of how a wide range of factors, including national security imperatives, the Cold War, economics, globalization, religion, and geopolitics played in role in influencing and framing anti-proliferation policies.

Alongside my friend and colleague Dr Mark McLay of Glasgow Caledonian University, I co-host the American History Too! podcast ( The podcast covers all sorts of American history topics, from slavery in the colonial era, through gender and murder in the late nineteenth century, to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.


2014, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, PhD
2009, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Masters by Research
1998, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, BA (hons) History and Sociology


Journal Articles

Craig MM. 2016. Nuclear sword of the Moslem world?: The United States, Britain, Pakistan, and the ‘Islamic Bomb’, 1977-80 International History Review, 38 :857-879 >DOI

Craig MM. 2016. I think we cannot refuse the order: Britain, America, nuclear non-proliferation, and the Indian Jaguar deal, 1974-1978 Cold War History, 16 :61-81 >DOI

Craig MM. Spycatcher’s Little Sister: The Thatcher government and the Panorama affair, 1980-81 Intelligence and National Security,

Book Reviews

Craig MM. 2015. Review of Or Rabinowitz, Bargaining on Nuclear Tests: Washington and its Cold War nuclear deals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) History: the journal of the Historical Association, 100 :504-505

Craig MM. 2015. Review of Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: The story of nuclear weapons and the illusion of safety (London: Penguin, 2014) Journal of American Studies, 49 :942-943 >DOI

Craig MM. 2013. Review of Jonathan Lyons, Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War or Terrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013) Journal of American Studies, 47 :863-866 >DOI


Craig MM. “A Dream of Nightmare Proportions”: America, Britain, and the Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Programme, 1974-1981 Palgrave Macmillan. Basingstoke

Engagement & Impact


Award title: ‘Best Course’ for The Nuclear Cold War at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association Teaching Awards, Awarding body: Edinburgh University Students' Association

Award title: University of Edinburgh Dalziel Prize for British History, Awarding body: University of Edinburgh

Award title: The Professor James F. McMillan Scholarship, Awarding body: University of Edinburgh

Conference organisation:

Conference name: British International Studies Association Global Nuclear Order Working Group symposium ‘Nuclear Identity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives'., Position: Organiser

Conference name: Edinburgh University symposium on ‘Conflict in History'., Position: Co-organiser

Conference name: Victoria University of Wellington ‘New Historians’ Conference'., Position: Co-organiser

Media Coverage:

Media coverage: Sky News, January 26, 2017, discussing the US-UK 'special relationship'

Media coverage: TRTWorld, January 26, 2017, discussing and providing historical perspective on Donald Trump's 'Mexican wall' and torture statements.

Media coverage: TRTWorld, January 7, 2017, providing an historical perspective on the national security implications of Donald Trump's election.

Media coverage: April 6, 2016, TBS Radio South Korea, ‘Primetime News’, discussing nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Media coverage: April 8, 2016, BBC Radio Scotland, ‘Good Morning Scotland’, discussing Edinburgh Spy Week 2016 and the history of secret intelligence.

Research Grants Awarded:

Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, Atomic Ayatollahs: US-UK nuclear non-proliferation policy and the greater Middle East, 1970-1992, Grant value (£): 1500, Duration of research project: 5 years

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, The United States, the United Kingdom, and Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: The Case of Pakistan, 1974-1980, Grant value (£): 1500, Duration of research project: 3 years

Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, 'Banning Panorama The BBC, the Thatcher government, and secret intelligence on TV, 1980-81', Grant value (£): 9000, Duration of research project: Nine months

British Association for American Studies/British Library Eccles Centre, 'Dreams and Nightmares: Defending the Secret State from Public Scrutiny, 1979-1990', Grant value (£): 2250, Duration of research project: One year

Teaching qualification:

Title of qualification gained: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy