Dennis Rodman may not be the person that you’d be most likely to call to soothe tense international relations between North Korea and the United States, but the colorful former NBA star is having a huge measure of success winning over the heart of the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. The two not only sat together and laughed and joked while watching a tied game between a North Korean team and the Harlem Globetrotters, but Rodman even told the Communist dictator that “You have a friend for life”. Could this be the diplomatic breakthrough the two countries need to begin to thaw out their icy relations?
During the Nixon Administration there was a table tennis match that became the opening needed to warm relations with China, which was later followed by a trip by President Nixon, and finally relaxed trade between the two nations where China now ranks as one of the most important trade partners for the U.S. not only providing massive amounts of low priced consumer goods for American consumers, but Chinese investors buying U.S. bonds have helped to shore up the American government as well.
TV tough guy actor, Chuck Connors was able to have a huge degree of success improving U.S.-Soviet relations with former Soviet Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev. The two became very good friends, and Connors would travel to the Soviet Union with gift classic Western handguns to give the Soviet leader as gifts. It seemed unlikely that this staunch conservative Republican actor and this Communist leader would become great pals, but Brezhnev made sure that THE RIFLEMAN reruns were part of Soviet TV programming, because it was the favorite TV show of the Russian leader. In 1982, Connors was saddened that the U.S. government wouldn’t allow him to attend the funeral for the Soviet Leader as part of the official U.S. delegation. Strangely, both Connors and Brezhnev actually died on the very same date, but ten years apart. These two very different men were somehow destined to be best friends.
The new young leader of North Korea seems to be relaxing cultural standards somewhat in the strict Stalinist Communist state, but diplomatic and military relations remain very tense. Can this situation be improved for the safety and well being of all in the Asian Pacific region where North Korean missiles short range missiles present a potential threat? North Korea also successfully put a rocket into space recently, raising the national security concerns that North Korean missiles could someday threaten the American West Coast or other parts of the United States.
Can Dennis Rodman of all people help to get North Korea on-board as a new potential trade partner for the U.S., where North Koreans can find work, be able to purchase food and provide goods for U.S. consumers? Likely, that prospect is still far off. But, Dennis Rodman probably made Americans more safe from some North Korean military threat with his one man diplomatic mission.
Whoever thought that this cross-dressing and outrageous former NBA star could have such a strong international impact? If anything, Dennis Rodman is always a constant surprise!