First Afghanistan, then Incan pottery

President Obama definitely has a lot on his mind after the drubbing congressional Democrats received yesterday. It seems unlikely that he'll get himself involved in an international argument over antiquities, but that hasn't stopped the Peruvian government from trying.

President Alan García formally asked US President Barack Obama his support behind Peru's demands for Yale University to return thousands of artifacts removed from the Inca site of Machu Picchu a century ago for study at the US university.

In a letter, delivered to the US Ambassador to Peru Rose M. Likins, President Garcia said that Obama's support was "fair and necessary" for Yale University to return the pieces removed from Machu Picchu.

According to the letter, Obama's support is necessary as the US government led by William Howarf Taft in those years, was the one that authorized Hiram Bingham's work in Peru.

Without a doubt it's unfortunate and unfair American and European scientists and scholars pilfered artifacts from around the world to bolster collections at museums from Berlin to New Haven. But it's difficult to imagine that Obama, with his myriad domestic and international concerns, will do much to return pottery, jewelry and bones to Machu Pichu.

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Emperor Erdogan?

At this point it's a tired cliché to compare Turkey's booming economy and increasing international relevance to the resurgence of the Ottoman Empire. The news that Prime Minister Erdogan is visiting Kosovo today probably won't help put a stop to that trope.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said on Wednesday that his visit to Kosovo would be first visit in prime ministerial level from Turkey to Kosovo.

"The kinsmen there constitute a serious bridge for cultural ties," Erdogan told reporters at Ankara's Esenbo?a Airport prior to his departure for Kosovo.

Yes, it seems that Imperial Istanbul is extending its influence back to its old haunts in the Balkans. By coincidence, Erdogan's visit came as Kosovo's government collapsed thanks to a no-confidence vote. Perfect timing for a Turkish takeover? Highly unlikely. Should we expect an attack on Austria next? No.

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