Could Dennis Rodman's basketball diplomacy do any good in North Korea?

The former NBA player says he's going on vacation with his new pal, Kim Jong Un, in August. With Kim threatening war, is that really a good idea?

Dennis Rodman
(Image credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Fresh off a highly publicized — and widely ridiculed — trip to North Korea, tattooed former NBA star Dennis Rodman says he's planning to go on vacation in August with his new "friend for life," North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kim has not confirmed the vacation plans, but he has threatened to attack the United States with a nuclear bomb. Kim's regime also just scrapped its 60-year-old ceasefire with South Korea in a fit of anger over new U.N. sanctions aiming to punish the Hermit Kingdom for its recent nuclear test. "I don't condone what he does, but he's my friend," Rodman said during a promotional appearance in North Dakota.

It's easy to mock Rodman's bizarre antics, as well the former NBA star's suggestion that President Obama should follow Rodman's lead by using his and Kim's mutual love of basketball to break the ice. But Rodman — aka "The Worm" — might be right, suggests Danile Pinkston of the International Crisis Group (via Britain's Guardian). Nothing else seems to be working, but "basketball diplomacy" might really be a way to "deliver a Trojan horse of subversion" to the isolated communist regime, "just as Gorbachev's perestroika did for the USSR and the lifting of travel restrictions did for East Germany." Kim already has embraced a tattooed and pierced American, which is not a bad start.

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.