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Bloggingheads on Susan Rice's troubles in Africa

This is a guest post from David Klion, senior editor at Bloggingheads: 

Last week, author Jason K. Stearns made the case against Susan Rice, President Obama's likely nominee for Secretary of State. This issue with Rice isn't her handling of the embassy attack in Libya, wrote Stearns, but her long record of supporting African leaders who violate human rights. In the latest installment of Foreign Policy's collaboration with Bloggingheads, Stearns talks to journalist Robert Wright about Rice's problematic role in the Clinton Administration.

 

 

Watch the whole interview, which was recorded from the eastern Congo.

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How big a deal is Psy's anti-American past? (updated)

He's performed with Madonna, has been on the Today show, and is scheduled to perform at a "Christmas in Washington" concert this weekend that President Obama plans to attend with his family.

But now South Korean rapper Psy -- chubby, goofy Psy, who horse-danced his way into so many American hearts this past year -- is now being dogged by some surprisingly vitriolic anti-U.S. comments from his past.

In 2004, Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, took part in a live performance of Korean band N.E.X.T.'s song "Dear American" in which he rapped:

Kill those f****** Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives

Kill those f****** Yankees who ordered them to torture

Kill their daughters, mothers, daughter-in-law and fathers

Kill them all slowly and painfully

Yikes!

The rap came two years after PSY had participated in a protest concert against the presence of 37,000 troops in South Korea. During the concert, Psy lifted a miniature American tank above his head and smashed it on stage, to cheers from the audience.

As many have noted, it's important to remember the context here: the protest concert came shortly after two middle school girls in Korea were killed after they were struck by an armored vehicle operated by U.S. soldiers (the soldiers were later acquitted of charges related to their deaths).  And the 2004 rap came in the wake of the beheading death of a Korean missionary in Iraq, after South Korea rejected the kidnappers' demands that it withdraw its troops.

Korea is an American ally, but has long been ambivalent about the presence of U.S. troops on its soil; many have also questioned the presence of South Korean troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Psy -- whose Gangnam Style video passed Justin Bieber's "Baby" last month to become the most-viewed video ever on Youtube -- has yet to comment.

Update -- Psy has responded in a statement: "As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I was featured in - eight years ago - was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time.  While I'm grateful for the freedom to express one's self, I've learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I'm deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words."

"I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months - including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them-  and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it's important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music, I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that thru music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."

h/t Haps

Mike Coppola/Getty Images