By Kyle Grozen
Last week, retired American basketball player and cultural phenomenon Dennis Rodman visited North Korea and met with leader Kim Jong-Un, whom he praised for his hospitality, kindness, and generosity.
Yes, you read that right: he praised Kim Jong-Un for his hospitality, kindness, and generosity.
Just when you thought Rodman couldn’t get any crazier, he spent his time in the People’s Republic attending basketball games with the Harlem Globetrotters and serving as Kim Jong-Un’s personal guest, attending many a lavish feast with the leader. The two men developed a fast friendship in a way that only two completely insane people can, and Rodman was fast to justify Kim’s personality upon returning to the United States. “He’s an awesome guy,” said Rodman last week on ABC’s “This Week.” Rodman elaborated by saying that Kim’s ruling tactics are not nearly as bad as his ancestors, stating that “He’s not his father. He’s not his grandfather.” Though the testimony of Dennis Rodman will do little to assuage the anxieties of numerous Americans, his pseudo-diplomatic trip could legitimately help improve relations between the two countries.
Tensions between the United States and the communist People’s Republic of Korea have been high since the Cold War, as the U.S. has worked to eliminate communist dictators from the planet but has failed to eradicate the Kim dynasty in North Korea. Recent nuclear testing conflicts have only added to these anxieties, and North Korea’s progress in weapons of mass destruction is one of the largest legitimate threats to United States security in today’s world. In terms of foreign policy, North Korea is arguably the United States’ biggest monster to tackle; this is why Rodman should be used to the greatest possible extent in establishing better relations with Kim Jong-Un, who took power in December 2011 following the death of his father.
Rodman has been a cultural confusion for years since his retirement from the NBA; his antics have brought him fame among social psychologists, reality TV junkies, and rebellious college students. For all his issues, however, Rodman is clearly capable of interacting with Kim Jong-Un on a personal level, something no American up to this point has been able to do. Though his experience and knowledge of international diplomacy is highly limited, being diplomatic just comes down to getting along with people, and if Rodman is able to get along with Kim Jong-Un, he could prove to be America’s most valuable asset in its largest contemporary foreign policy battle. He discovered Kim’s passion for basketball and pointed out that “Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there.” In doing this, Rodman found what no American has yet found in terms of interacting with North Korea- a starting point. Regardless of how the issue is approached, America has a long way to go in diplomacy with the People’s Republic, and if Rodman already has an in with the North Korean dictator, that should be used to the greatest possible extent. With Rodman’s help, we could be able to develop cordial relations with a previously hostile nation over a personal relationship between one country’s largest leader and another’s largest personality.
So Obama: get Kim Jong-Un’s number from Rodman and shoot him a text. Maybe he has some insight as to whether the Lakers will make the playoffs or when Derrick Rose will return.