Now that the Egyptian revolution has reached a less American-media-friendly phase, I’m hoping there will be some attention to spare for Raymond A. Davis and his trials in another regional “beneficiary” of our empire-building ambitions:
LAHORE, Pakistan — The case of Raymond A. Davis, a former United States Special Forces soldier who is being held in connection with the deaths of two Pakistanis, has stirred a diplomatic furor, sending the precarious relationship between the United States and Pakistan to a new low, both sides say.
Mr. Davis, 36, was driving in dense traffic in this city on Jan. 27 when, he later told the police, two Pakistani men on a motorcycle tried to rob him. He shot and killed both and was arrested immediately afterward by police officers who say he was carrying a Glock handgun, a flashlight that attached to a headband and a pocket telescope.
The mystery about what Mr. Davis was doing with this inventory of gadgets has touched directly on Pakistani resentments that members of the large American security presence here roam the country freely and are not answerable to the Pakistani authorities.
The Pakistani press, dwelling on the items in Mr. Davis’s possession and his various identity cards, has been filled with speculation about his specific duties, which American officials would not discuss. Mr. Davis’s jobs have been loosely defined by American officials as “security” or “technical,” though his duties were known only to his immediate superiors.
Moments after Mr. Davis shot the two men, he called for help, and a vehicle belonging to the American Consulate in Lahore raced to the scene, driving the wrong way on a one-way street. It ran over a Pakistani cyclist, who later died in a hospital…
That was Tuesday. On Friday, the Washington Post took a less dispassionate tone, claiming the “US weighs tougher approach with Pakistan“:
WASHINGTON — A standoff between the United States and Pakistan over a jailed American embassy worker took an ominous turn Friday when police accused the man of “cold-blooded murder” and the U.S. responded with thinly veiled threats to cut valued aid and access for Pakistan unless he is released immediately.
The case of Raymond Allen Davis has opened one of the worst breaches in memory between the U.S. and a critical counter-terrorism partner. His detention has become a point of national honor for both nations, and a rallying point for anti-American suspicion in Pakistan. U.S. officials said they were likely to postpone an invitation to Pakistan’s foreign minister to visit Washington later this month.
Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is before a court, said the Obama administration is also considering a slow-down in visa processing for Pakistanis seeking to come to the U.S. That would be hugely unpopular in Pakistan, where grievance already runs high over the perception that the U.S. discriminates in granting visas to Pakistanis.
In Congress, some demanded an even tougher approach with Pakistan. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah said Friday he might offer an amendment to Congress’ must-pass spending bill next week that would cut off U.S. aid to the country….
Much more detail at the links. I know this is deadly serious geopolitics, but there’s a weirdly slapstick tone to the whole disaster as currently reported, as though Modern Times were being re-written for the 21st century. Of course in Charlie Chaplin’s day there were no nuclear weapons…