Fifty-five years and after waging wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, to name only a few, the United States ratified the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954 (the 1954 Hague Convention) in 2009. Although the U.S. has promoted itself as a strong proponent for world peace and human rights, the treaty ran counter to American military doctrine— ‘that it is necessary to destroy a city or town in order to save it.’ However, the negative effects on cultural property in historic places in Afghanistan and Iraq, compelled the U.S. Military to reconsider the treatment of cultural monuments during armed conflict and began to monitor impacts on these places to mitigate avoidable destruction. Today, the U.S. has implemented a Cultural Property Protection Program (CPP) through a joint initiative between the Department of Defence, the Department of State, and the Smithsonian Institute Cultural Rescue Initiative to prevent cultural heritage destruction and to monitor military strategy by Russia and China in areas of conflict in Ukraine and Taiwan. In this article, I explain how the U.S. has regarded the 1954 Hague Convention and how it is approaching CPP in current armed conflicts.
- cultural property protection (CPP)
- Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
- monitoring of cultural heritage destruction
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