I think they are inseparable. If they aren’t forced together (as in states supporting public art funding) they are still bound inextricably, because artists will always make political statements. It is just another medium for commentary, like OpEd contributors and policy wonks write in newspapersr and pontificate on tv.
Does politics use art to express/encourage certain policy? A resounding yes, I think. Consider Charlotte Higgins mention of the CIA’s promotion of abstract expressionism during the Cold War, or the Soviet Union’s alacrity in sending its brightest and best ballet stars on tour despite the tremendous risks of dancers’ defections in her article in the Guardian (March 2008).
But what are the pitfalls? I sat in front of my computer for 15 minutes and could not think of a single one.