March 3, 2013

Guess what? Dennis Rodman is no diplomat.

Having some familiarity in the area of international diplomacy, I can tell you from first hand experience that it is a delicate dance of nuance. One must be clear about objectives and often, phrasing is parsed within an inch to best put foward the interests of the country one is representing.

Or you can just go to a country and watch some basketball.

Ignoring the sanctions levied against North Korea for their continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons program, shrugging off the hundreds of thousands in harsh prison camps and oblivious to the issues of starvation, famine and hardship suffered by the ordinary North Koreans, Rodman tells This Week host George Stephanopoulos these persuasive words:

“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.”

Oh, well, if you put it like that...

I'm not a big believer that we can bring an end to violent, inhumane regimes solely by isolating them. Diplomatic overtures definitely will need to play a part. But please, can we start with someone who at least sounds knowledgable and coherent about the situation in North Korea?

Rodman said Kim told him that he would like for Obama to call him so they could talk and also noted that both men like basketball, suggesting it could be a conversation-starter.

At the end of the interview, Stephanopoulos presented Rodman with a study from Human Rights Watch about human rights abuses in North Korea.

Rodman responded: “Well either way, either way — guess what, though — guess what — thank you for the report. Guess what, guess what, don’t hate me. Don’t hate me. Guess what. Don’t hate me. Guess what. Don’t hate me.”

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