- By Colum LynchColum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. He previously wrote FP’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He was also the silver medal recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize for a three-part series documenting the U.N.’s systemic failure to protect civilians in Darfur, Sudan. Colum’s investigations have uncovered an American spy operation in Iraq, Russia’s monopoly of the $1 billion-a-year U.N. aircraft leasing market, and a Chinese diplomatic campaign to silence U.N. investigators scrutinizing Chinese arms deals in Africa. His deep digs into the U.N. bureaucracy have exposed sexual misconduct by U.N. blue helmets from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and documented monumental dysfunction in the U.N. office charged with rooting out misconduct and corruption. He now devotes his reporting chops to documenting President Donald Trump’s efforts to reorder the international system. Born in Los Angeles, Colum received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. Before moving to FP, Colum reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. He has appeared frequently on national news programs, including the Lehrer NewsHour, as well as on MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC.
South Korea’s election to the U.N. Security Council may or may not make a difference in easing the nuclear standoff with North Korea.
But it is likely to lead to the proliferation of even more corny jokes about the Korean pop sensation, Psy, and his "Gangnam Style" music video sensation.
Korean diplomats, international civil servants, and American diplomats posted in Korea have been milking the dance craze, promoting the new South Korean flair in contrast to the dour image projected by North Korea’s nuclear-armed dynasty.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the former Korean foreign minister, will actually begin a speech today decrying the end of his status as the best-known South Korean in the world. (Ban once told an aide that he had been mistaken for Kim Jong Il during one of his first U.S. tours as secretary general).
"The other day I was introduced by a journalist as the most famous Korean on the planet,"says Ban, according to a prepared speech he will deliver to students at Drake University. "But I had to relinquish that title to Psy, the singer of Gangnam Style!"
Earlier this week, the Korean president of the International Criminal Court, Sang-Hyun Song, worked a Gangnam line into his address to the U.N. Security Council.
"Let me apologize in advance if I slightly overstep the conventional time limit allocated to speakers," he said. "I am afraid I could not stay within say, 10 minutes even if I were to speak in Gangnam Style."
Sadly, the jokes aren’t even restricted to Korean leaders. The U.S. ambassador to Korea, Sung Kim, got a group of interns to perform the Gangnam Style dance at the embassy.
"I wish I could do the dance for you, but I can’t. I’m just a horrible dancer," he said on his online "Ask the Ambassador" series. "But, I have very talented interns at the embassy who are willing to do the dance for you."
Ban meanwhile told the Agence France Presse that he is big fan of Psy, and has seen the video "several times."
"I’m very proud that his performance has been loved and enjoyed by more than 400 million people," Ban said. "It is amazing."
Ban apparently has not, however, instructed his own staff to perform it. "I haven’t seen anyone around doing the dance," said a U.N. official. "But he is happy that everyone else seems to be doing it."
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