‘Basketball Diplomacy’ still has some kinks to work out

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March 8, 2013 by Nash Riggins

Dennis ‘the Worm’ Rodman recently returned from what we humans would consider to be the strangest holiday imaginable. During a 3-day excursion into one of the world’s most-feared rogue states, the former basketball star was treated by North Korea’s pudgy dictator, Kim Jong-Un, to a lavish 15-course dinner, some hijinks from the Harlem Globetrotters and an all-girl orchestra that specialises in covers of American TV theme songs (see below).

Oddly enough, upon the Worm’s return from what the media hailed as an attempt at ‘basketball diplomacy’, the very unique star had nothing but nice things to say about North Korea’s oppressive leader.

“I love him. He’s awesome,” Rodman said in his first post-Korean interview. “You know, he’s a good guy to me. Guess what? He’s my friend. I don’t condone what he does … [but] as a person to person, he’s my friend.”

For the record, it’s probably safe to assume that what Rodman means by “I don’t condone what he does”, is ‘I don’t think it’s okay for a leader to toss 200,000 political dissidents into death camps, build nuclear warheads and let 3.5 million people die of starvation’. But that’s neither here nor there. Indeed, the most confusing sentiment Mr Rodman was able to share from his visit with Kim Jong-Un is as follows:

“He [Kim Jong-Un] wants Obama to do one thing: call him,” Rodman said last week. “He said: ‘If you can, Dennis – I don’t want [to] do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”

When Dennis Rodman conveyed Kim Jong-Un’s message of peace, the entire world sighed with relief. It turns out basketball diplomacy works, and North Korea never really wanted to destroy America after all! Until yesterday.

Just one week after North Korea’s bid for peace via Dennis Rodman, a spokesman for Kim Jong-Un’s regime declared on state television that the dictator was set to launch a nuclear strike against the United States. Hmm…Dennis Rodman must have really freaked those North Koreans out.

“Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest,” an official said yesterday. “The US is massively deploying armed forces for aggression, including nuclear carrier task force and strategic bombers, enough to fight a nuclear war under the smokescreen of ‘annual drills’.”

Pre-emptive strike, indeed. Yet as much as half the world would love to see the pudgy dictator removed from power, it’s probably safer to assume that Kim Jong-Un’s pugnacious threat was just a bid to delay yesterday’s inevitable vote by the UN Security Council on a fourth round of sanctions against his regime. Said sanctions came as a direct response to North Korea’s ambitious nuclear weapons programme – and although all signs indicate that the dictatorship has yet to produce a warhead small enough to fit on a long-range missile, it’s definitely worth noting they do have enough nuclear materials to build several crude bombs.

Any ninth grade civics student could have advised Kim Jong-Un that threatening someone with a nuclear holocaust isn’t a great way to win friends. Yet as fate would have it, no ninth graders were on hand, and Kim Jong-Un’s statement turned out to be a self-inflicted shot in the foot after the new round of sanctions passed unanimously. That said, the outcome was hardly surprising; after all, the Chinese government – which is the closest thing to an ‘ally’ North Korea will ever have – co-wrote the new sanctions. Why? Because friends don’t let friends play with fire.

There’s been no word yet from the Worm on whether his new friend’s latest threat is just some sort of cry for help – but in the meantime, it’s probably safe to say that ‘basketball diplomacy’ still has a few kinks to work out. But hey, nobody can blame a guy for trying.

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