Dennis Rodman has gifted North Korean officials a copy of Donald Trump’s book on how to win big in business The Art of The Deal. The former professional basketball star is one of the few people on earth who can count Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un as acquaintances. In the case of the North Korean leader, Rodman has called Kim a “friend for life”.
Rodman’s visit to North Korea coincided with North Korea’s early release of Otto Warmbier, a US citizen in its custody, who was sentenced to 15 years hard labour after confessing to stealing a political poster in a North Korean Hotel.
Reports which are thus far unverified by medial experts state that the former student returned to the US in a comatose state.
These reports led to a statement from US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert which indicated that the US is considering banning its citizens from visiting North Korea.
Should the US implement such a move, it would only be a bad development for both countries. Peace can only be attained if Americans have a better understanding of what North Korea is and what North Korea is not.
While North Korea is certainly a state that differs from almost call others, it is not the hellish place that western mainstream media often call it.
Dennis Rodman’s good will visit in 2013 where he organised an exhibition basketball game, has already done more to ease tensions and free an American convict in North Korea than previous traditional diplomat efforts appear to have achieved.
In many ways, the fact that Rodman is not a professional diplomat has likely done a great deal to bring the two countries ever so slightly closer together. Rodman is merely a curious citizen and an apolitical one at that. He has no agenda, something which has clearly won him respect from the North Korean government.
The US should not cut its citizens off from North Korea, not least because most visits by all foreigners to North Korea not only occur without incident but are totally free of any crime as North Korea has one of the lowest levels of ordinary crime in the world.
As Churchill said, “To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war”.
Today’s version of “jaw-jaw” may well involve basketball….and private stories about Donald Trump, before he became POTUS.