Security of Cultural Property

U.S. Engagement and Potential for Improvement

Published in: E-Conservation Magazine 23, 2012, p. 71-77

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012

by Erik Nemeth

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Recent armed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan and political violence in Egypt have revealed the strategic significance of cultural property. This paper assesses the role of historic sites and antiquities in foreign engagement. Over the past century, U.S. foreign policy has had successes and shortcomings in leveraging protection of cultural patrimony to strategic advantage. The contrast of successful policy on the protection of immovable cultural property, such as religious monuments, in armed conflict and missed opportunities for tactical intelligence on the trade in movable cultural property, such as antiquities trafficking, identifies potential for development of foreign policy.

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