Dennis Rodman befriends North Korean dictator

By Annalise Coronel

Dennis Rodman has not received this much attention in over a decade. The former NBA player, who led the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls to numerous championships in the 90’s, traveled to North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters to film part of a new HBO series. During his stay, Rodman befriended its dictator, Kim Jong-un.

The United States currently have no diplomatic relations with North Korea. Tensions are rising with the communist country over its nuclear policy. The dictator has declared America the “sworn enemy of the Korean people.” He has said they have nuclear missiles that could reach America’s mainland, and made even more of a stir last month by authorizing an underground nuclear test.

Kim Jong-un is best known for his evil regime over the North Korean people. According to a Human Rights Watch report in 2012, the dictator has over 200,000 prisoners in labor camps, 3.5 million have died of starvation, and a remaining 10 percent of the population is malnourished and underfed.

Rodman is known for his attention-seeking antics. His appearance is defined by strange piercings, tattoos, and hair color. He wore a wedding dress on the cover of his autobiography, Bad as I Wanna Be. The basketball star had an affair with Madonna, and was married to Carmen Electra for less than six months. Rodman agreed to go on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2009 for his alcoholism.

This trip to North Korea is yet another example of a controversial publicity stunt. Lucky for Dennis Rodman, Kim Jong-un is a huge fan of basketball and the Bulls. Rodman has now spent more time with the young dictator than any other American. Col. Steve Ganyard says, “There is nobody at the CIA who can tell you more personally about Kim Jong Un than Dennis Rodman, and that in itself is scary.”

Rodman tried to warm up relations over basketball. The two bonded over basketball games and drinking. He repeatedly describes the dictator as “humble” and “awesome.” When confronted during an interview about his love for a man who restricts free media, political opposition, and religious freedom, Rodman replies, “He’s a good guy to me. As a person to person, he’s my friend. I don’t condone what he does.” He promises to go back to North Korea and find out the conditions for himself. This bizarre friendship has been compared to Charles Lindbergh’s character witness of Hitler in 1930.

Rodman attempts to assure Americans that Kim Jong-un does not want to go to war. The dictator wants President Obama to call him. Rodman suggests they start off talking about basketball, since they both love the sport.

The Obama administration and the State Department are trying to distance themselves from the situation. Both have reported that they have direct communication with the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.) They refuse to debrief Rodman after his trip. The Obama administration says, “And instead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country, the North Korean regime should focus on the well-being of its own people who have been starved, imprisoned, and denied their human rights.”

Dennis Rodman’s new-found friendship with Kim Jong-un is extraordinary simply because no other American has been able to spend time or talk on a personal level with the dictator. He is by no means a diplomat, and it’s easy to see why the US government isn’t taking his advice too seriously. Facts remain that Kim Jong-un is an oppressive dictator who has threatened the US, and Dennis Rodman will do just about anything to shock the public. He has succeeded in getting mass amounts of media attention over his trip to North Korea, and it is hoped that some good will come from it in relieving tensions between our two countries.

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