Tom Mashberg's report about proposed emergency import restrictions along with news about the Obama Administration's ivory ban raises the question whether the import ban's proponents view it as the first step to a complete ban on the sale of Egyptian antiquities.
Other countries for which import restrictions have been granted allow for at least a limited trade in cultural artifacts, and some like China and Italy even have widespread trade in such cultural artifacts. But not Egypt, what with its top-heavy public sector and its absolutely Pharaonic attitude that all antiquities belong to the State.
In support of Egypt's broad claims, the Capitol Archaeological Institute has already successfully lobbied eBay to ban the sale of Egyptian artifacts. And other archaeological fanatics want to treat antiquities just like ivory. So if "emergency import restrictions" on Egyptian cultural artifacts are approved, how long before there is also a call not only to embargo their entry but to ban their sale by executive order too?
And even without such an executive order, is it far fetched for "true believers" at US Customs to think that "emergency import restrictions" provides them license to seize undocumented Egyptian artifacts here on the theory that they "must be stolen?" Unfortunately, probably not.
But what will the trade and the many collectors of ancient Egyptian artifacts do about it? Hopefully not just sit back with the false hope that "it will all just blow over."