Saturday 17 December 2016

US 'Strategy' on Illicit Antiquitties Trade is Like...

When interests triumph over values terrible things can happen

As one of the world's largest markets for smuggled and looted antiquities from all over the world, one would have hoped that the US would take a strong line against this sort of thing. Such hopes are continually frustrated when the administration goes for 'understandings' signed with selected states and then a series of showpiece 'repatriations' with diplomatic canapés and feelgood speechifying. But then that is more or less what US foreign policy has become anyway in the past decade or so:
The administration creatively pioneered a third option, which it pursued not only in Syria but also in Ukraine and elsewhere: Between action and inaction, it chose inconsequential action [...] We acted, in sum, only in ways certain not to affect the outcome. We were strategically feckless.

Leon Wieseltier, 'Aleppo’s fall is Obama’s failure' Washington Post December 15 2016.(he makes a number of points about the wider consequences too).

[the text could be read together with the Economist's comments along similar lines: 'The lessons from Aleppo’s tragic fateWhen interests triumph over values terrible things can happen' Dec 17th 2016].

Let us see what the incoming administration will see as 'Making America Great Again', but the situation does not look very promising.

Vignette, steering a course to promote true US values?

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