Dennis Rodman, diplomat?
It’s the kind of story that’s too bizarre to be made up. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, known as much for his tattoos and piercings as his play, visited North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters recently, spent some time with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, declared, “You have a friend forever,” and came back to the U.S. to tell President Obama, “Kim just wants you to call him.”
Rodman said Kim is just a young man thrust into a position of power, who doesn’t want to “do war,” in spite of his country’s nuclear tests and missile launces. He just wants a friend.
If Kim wants friends he could start finding them among his own countrymen by shutting down his work camps, where some 200,000 citizens are held, and start focusing his country’s efforts on growing food instead of building nuclear weapons. He might make a few more friends internationally that way, too.
No doubt North Korea will spin this visit into some kind of legend-building propaganda for their new Beloved Leader. Kim will probably be said to have dunked over Rodman in a little one-on-one game.
This kind of news is amusing, but it really does nothing for our relations with North Korea.