The contemporary world has witnessed new heights of coercive diplomacy. A public statement by President Barack Obama declaring Raymond Davis a diplomat and asking Pakistan for his repatriation was overkill; indeed it was a diplomatic faux pas. The American media was forbidden to mention the killers connection withthe CIA; therefore, the 'free and fair media faithfully obliged the government, until the Pakistani paper The Nation spilled the beans, followed by the British media. Washington suspended all high level contacts with Islamabad; called off a planned bilateral meeting between the Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference; dropped Pakistan from the crucial trilateral talks betweenthe Pakistani, Afghan and the US Foreign Ministers; Pakistan was conveyed that Zardaris visit to Washington was uncertain; and that Obamas planned visit to Pakistan might not go through. Further Pakistans Ambassador was summoned and intimidated by the National Security Advisor that he will be asked to leave, if Davis is not handed over to the US. The threats of suspension of economic aid and future cooperation were given amid indications that the strategic alliance between the two countries was also at risk. At the same time, the attitude of the American Embassy was rather insensitive. No regrets were expressed over the brutal killings, no condolences were conveyed to the families of the deceased and little concern was shown for public sentiment. Though John Kerry visited Pakistan, offering belated condolences and expressing remorse at the loss of life; this was too little too late. Apparently concerned that Davis continued detention and interrogation might expose his dubious activities in Pakistan, the attitude of the State Department became extremely arrogant, harsh and bullying. Probably,the spy knows too much about the American campaign of special operations aimed at destabilising Pakistan to justify its denuclearisation by force. Moreover, his connection with fissile material,and biological and chemical warfare materials trafficking matters, indicate that Davis was in the process of setting up something too big andtoo dangerous. There are speculations that Davis is a member of the special mission unit based in Pakistans vicinity, with the objective of making plans and preparations to seize its nukes, if and when necessary. His task is to develop intelligence, contacts and agents in furtherance of his units mission. Also, perhaps the individuals he killed somehow knew about his plans and refused to fall in line; whereby Davis had no choice but to kill them irrespective of the cost. There are a number of theories circulating about the identity and credentials of the slain duo as well as Davis. Surprisingly, two days before Davis went on a killing spree, the US Embassy had forwarded its annual list of diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff to the Pakistans Foreign Office. Reportedly, Davis name was not included in the list. But immediately a day after the Mozang incident, the Embassy resubmitted a revised list adding the killers name. In the same vein, when thePunjabpolice took Davis into custody, he had an 'ordinary American passport. But later, the police was approached by a staffer of the Lahore Consulate to exchange that passport with another one - a new passport was a diplomatic one with a valid diplomatic visa stamped by the Foreign Office, sometime in 2009. However, the police did not oblige. Meanwhile, the prosecutors have presented two letters from the US Embassy as evidence before the Lahore High Court. The first letter, dated January 27, reads: Davis is an employee of the US Consulate General Lahore and holder of a diplomatic passport. The second, dated February 3rd, states that Davis is a member of the administrative and technical staff of the US Embassy Islamabad Indeed, this sort of mysterious and indiscreet handling of the issue has diminished the chances of an alternative solution to the impasse, which could have been possible if the matter was handled by the American side discreetly and prudently. Unfortunately, pragmatism was the first causality right from the onset of crisis. Under the Pakistani law, there is provision for blood money, i.e. that the next of kin can accept monetary remuneration and then pardon the killer. Despite pressure, the families of ill-fated Zeeshan and Faheem have refused to accept the blood money. In fact, the anti-American sentiment is running so high that local businessmen have publicly urged them to refuse, with the promise that they would match any sum offered to them by the US. Then rumours were floated that the US might reach an understanding with Pakistanto swap Davis withDr AafiaSiddique. However, her family has refused to accept this, and has asked the government not to release him in exchange with Aafia. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has also issued a warning to the Pakistani government of dire consequences, if Davis is released. This indicates that suicide attacks, murders and turmoil could follow his release; even the judges involved in such decision could be targeted. Once again, the people of Pakistan are reminded that the Pak-US relations, like always, hang by a thread, and Pakistan can be jettisoned any time if it refuses to fall in line. A recent survey by GallupPakistan has pointed out that 70percent Pakistanis consider America as the greatest threat to their countrys sovereignty. It is perceived as an arrogant, warmongering superpower, which foments trouble and destroys countries. The Pakistanis are also angry with the US over drone attacks, and have demandedan immediate end to these illegal attacks that have claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Jeremy Scahill in his article The Secret US War in Pakistan states: At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the centre of a secret programme in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives, 'snatch and grabs of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan. The Pakistani military too had concluded a long time ago that the TTP was being aided by sort of free-wheeling "contractors" that Davis represents. Last year, the US pressurised Pakistan to accept about 500 of "Davis types" without any background checks. The Americans have yet once again shown poor understanding of Pakistans ground realities. Currently, there is an impasse;public pressure leaves little room for any compromise. The State Department, having mishandled the issue, now needs to act more sensibly and back off to let the tempers cool down. More threats will only further worsen an already bad situation. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton was ill advised to pursue such a rasping policy in full public view. Pakistan has not buckled under intense US pressure; it is also not impressed by the American posturing. An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis believe these to be empty threats. This cowboy style of handling the Davis issue is in line with The Ugly American - a bestseller of yesteryears and a very successful movie. This profile is a sort of prefect encapsulation of the dysfunction at the heart of the US-Pakistan relationship, and the failure of American policymakers to recognise it. The writer is retired air commodore of Pakistan Air Force. Email: