Although cultural¶ diplomacy played a role in shaping U.S. foreign policy for over half a century, recent presidential administrations have abandoned the lessons of the¶ Cold War, favoring more visible sources of strength or hard power.190¶ With the advent of global terrorism, however, scholars urge political leaders to build a new system of diplomatic alliances to combat extremism and¶ engage in cultural diplomacy with countries that traditionally share less¶ cultural and historic ties to the United States.191¶ Museums provide the perfect setting for cultural diplomacy. Indeed,¶ museums have fully embraced the importance of “two-way” cultural diplomacy. By engaging in diverse cross-cultural exchange, museums provide¶ Americans with the opportunity to learn about less familiar cultures through the visual arts.192 Accordingly, cultural diplomacy’s promise of¶ international support through cooperation is furthered each time an American sees a piece of art and understands or identifies with the culture that¶ produced it.193 For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2008¶ Beyond Babylon offered viewers a vision of the ancient Near East in terms¶ familiar to the modern American: globalizationand diversity.194 However,¶ the overall effect of the exhibition was undermined by Syria’s decision not¶ to participate:¶ [T]he Metropolitan’s inability to borrow objects from Syria for an exhibition¶ indicates the danger [the FSIA] legislationand litigation pose to cultural¶ exchange. American citizens have been deprived of the opportunity of¶ appreciating and learning from archaeological artifacts and works of art¶ from one of the world’s oldest civilizations. The actionsin question therefore pose a serious threat to
cultural exchange and cultural diplomacy,¶ which are extremely important in building understanding among¶ peoples.195¶ Furthermore, cultural exchange allows American academics and¶ archaeologists tostudy important artifacts, to publish their findings, and¶ to translate their meaning to society at large.196The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, a party of interest in Rubin, discovered clay tablets¶ in Iran in 1933, and with the permission of the Iranian government is still¶ studying the significance of the artifacts.197 Each year, as archaeologists¶ decipher the ancient writing on the tablets, they discover moreabout the¶ sophistication of daily life in Ancient Persia.198 However, with the Rubin¶ plaintiffs seeking attachment, the cultural exchange and comity that developed between the Oriental Institute and Iran forover half a century has¶ been placed on hold indefinitely.199 Diplomatic ties withSyria, a designated state sponsor of terror, are¶ precisely the type that could benefit from increased cross-cultural¶ exchange.200 The U.S. government, however, must make greater strides¶ toward providing a lasting support system for public diplomacy before¶ American museums can effectively engage in cultural diplomacy.201
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- Fall '16
- jane smith
- state crime