Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cultural Heritage Center in Conservative Cross-Hairs

The State Department and its Cultural Heritage Center find themselves in conservative cross-hairs for wasteful spending in their Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Heritage Preservation.   The Weekly Standard paints a picture of a misguided "soft power" effort that has spent millions in anti-American countries.  In so doing, the author, Stephen Schwartz, focuses on the foolishness of giving millions for restoration projects to the same Assad regime which has bombed the Old City of Aleppo into rubble.

The article expresses hope the new Congress will scrutinize the program.  CPO also hopes Congress will also review the Cultural Heritage Center's administration of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act.  Even leaving aside serious concerns about prejudgement of MOUs, it's increasingly clear that MOUs are little more than special interest programs for foreign cultural bureaucracies and the archaeologists that do business with them.  For proof, one need look no further than low public support for MOUs.  For instance, CPAC recently received only four public comments regarding a renewal of the MOU with Nicaragua, including one from the AAMD that suggested it should be turned down.

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