Laeticia LaFolette, the Archaeological Institute of America's point person on MOUs, has conceded that MOUs do not curb looting in an opinion piece published on line in the Art Newspaper.
In particular, she states,
"The second fallacy is that this aims “to curb smuggling”. No one expects any single agreement will completely “stop the looting of archaeological sites and illegal trafficking.'"
If so, why then does the AIA support restrictions on the import of cultural goods that only harm the interests of American collectors, museums and the small businesses of the antiquities and numismatic trade?
Why shouldn't MOUs instead be limited to encouraging cultural exchanges of the sort normally promoted by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs?
Is it truly about cultural heritage preservation as the AIA and the State Department cultural bureaucracy maintain or is it really about academic snobbery and bureaucratic control?