Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has for years, acted as something of a good will ambassador between the United States and North Korea (DPRK).
Rodman first went to North Korea in 2013 to participate in a series of exhibition basketball games. Rodman spoke of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as a “friend for life” after the two first met and encouraged then US President Obama to hold a phone call with Kim citing their mutual love of basketball.
It didn’t happen, but now under a Trump Presidency, Rodman is heading back to Pyongyang for what he calls an attempt at “just opening the door”.
While some may write off the seemingly unusual relationship between Rodman and Kim Jong-Un, it ought to be taken seriously.
Rodman is one of the few men in the entire world who can say that he has engaged in positive social relations with both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. This in and of itself is something of an accomplishment. Long before Trump declared his candidacy for POTUS, Rodman was a guest on Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice television show.
North Korea is not a realistic threat to anyone and Kim Jong-Un’s kind letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russia Day is a sign that North Korea is in fact willing to engage in cordial relations with world powers.
Donald Trump once said that he would be “honoured” to meet with Kim Jong-Un under the right circumstances. This would indeed be an ideal situation in terms of the US and North Korea reaching some sort of peaceful understanding, however incomplete it might be.
The fact that Rodman does not pretend to have any great knowledge of politics is actually an asset. After all, this is how Ping-Pong Diplomacy unfolded with China during the Nixon/Mao era.
If Dennis Rodman through the power of his personality, eccentric though it might be, can help to arrange such a thing, it would be something of a diplomatic slam dunk.