It’s not everyday you find a partnership as odd as this.
Some find it amusing that eccentric former professional basketball star Dennis Rodman has struck up a friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Unfortunately, this is no laughing matter.
The media has made a mockery of the unlikely duo, as Rodman has traveled back and forth to North Korea four times in the past year, claiming Kim is a great friend that “I love.”
Most people are confused on how the friendship begin — and why it continues — considering the egregious human rights abuses abounding within North Korea. There’s also the imprisonment of American pastor Kenneth Bae, who is being held without charges indefinitely and the recent, gruesome public execution of Kim’s uncle.
Heritage’s Bruce Klingner wrote of how Americans should view the North Korean government recently:
“For years, North Korean refugees have risked their lives to document evidence of Pyongyang’s atrocities. The regime routinely inflicts arbitrary imprisonment, torture, slave labor, rape, summary executions, forced abortions, and medical experimentation onto its citizens.”
Rodman has yet to deliver a satisfying answer to justify his “friendly” visits or give any indication that he intends to make headway politically between the United States and Korea.
It’s said that Kim loves the game of basketball, which predictably was how the two initially engaged. Some, like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, have speculated that Rodman’s friendship with Kim could bring positive change for Bae’s situation. There were similar optimistic predictions of the 2008 visit by the New York Philharmonic to North Korea with one former U.S. diplomat equating it to “firing a 16-inch broadside of soft power into the hearts and minds of the North Korean people.” But subsequent North Korean provocations proved those predictions to be hopelessly naive.
Rodman’s most recent trip included a team of former NBA stars, reportedly attending to play in a basketball game to commemorate Kim’s 31st birthday. Rodman and some of the team members appeared in an odd segment on CNN earlier today, where Rodman made little sense in answering questions from Chris Cuomo.
In reality, Rodman makes makes a shameless mockery of the people dying and suffering in North Korea at the hands of this unpredictable dictatorship.
As Klingner wrote:
“One wonders where is the collective outrage of Hollywood – which is otherwise so easily spurred to protest and earnestly wear colored lapel ribbons. Hollywood stars have protested against far less oppressive causes but not the massive and deadly human rights abuses in North Korea.”
And the horrors continue.