Ex NBA star Dennis Rodman returned from his personal diplomatic mission to North Korea saying that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, doesn’t want war and would welcome a phone call from President Barack Obama. The North Koreans rolled out the red carpet for Rodman and his small entourage of basketball players and a TV film crew. Rodman said Kim was “an awesome guy” and a “friend”. He said both Kim and Obama love basketball and that this mutual interest would be a way to start improving relations between the two countries.
We believe Rodman’s heart is in the right place, and he wants to do what he can to help relations between the two countries, who currently do not have diplomatic relations. That being said, there is a reason the State Department has a professional diplomatic corps, and we don’t believe Rodman is seeing the big picture.
We’re sure Rodman was wined and dined with the finest North Korea has to offer, but in the meantime, millions of people are starving there as Kim puts the country’s resources into missiles and nuclear weapons development. For generations, the dictatorship there has whipped itself into a frenzy over perceived threats from the U.S., issued no doubt in part as a way to distract the North Korean public from the miserable economic conditions there. Missile launchings and underground nuclear tests followed by provocative statements about what they’ll do to the U.S. isn’t the way to win friends. Rodman downplays this and the North’s abysmal human rights record, but says he wants to go back and find out “what’s really going on” there.
Don’t hold your breath on that one, Dennis; you’ll see exactly what they want you to see.
And if contrary to his saber rattling and rhetoric, Kim really doesn’t want war and wants to talk, there are a lot of people in the State Department who would be happy to accommodate him.