I just finished watching CNN Journalist Anderson Cooper’s interview with the sister of detained American Kennith Bae. As usual, Mr. Cooper and Dom Lemon Before him followed company orders and wasted no time vilifying Dennis Rodman because he is not using his position as a friend of the Supreme Leader of North Korea to advocate for Bae’s release. They intentionally misquoted him with the reairing of the full interview to try to say Rodman doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Mr. Bae’s situation. This despite the fact Rodman himself made it clear he is not
- a Diplomat
- a politician
- going to get into North Korean/U.S. Relations
The “rant and tirade” CNN called it? He was understandably furious. Yes, his genuine friendship with Kim Jong Un is mutual. Yes, he knows about Mr. Bae’s situation. Yes, he knows very cleary about what’s going on in North Korea. If you look carefully at the video footage of Rodman in Pyongyang you will notice something you don’t see when reporters visit North Korea: No government minders are trailing him. CNN Journalist Wolf Blitzer was pretty adamant about government minders following outsiders from the West everywhere.
OK, look: Try to look at this from Rodman’s perspective. Like he said when the reporter in America who was interviewing him tried to bait him into talking politics, he and the players with him are IN North Korea right now. He’s not stupid. The players with him aren’t stupid. They’re not going to say ANYTHING that might jeopardize their safety or their freedom to leave the country. What the reporter who did the interview tried to do–and Rodman drove the point home very clearly–was bait him into a subject that could put them in danger.
Remember: Both the U.S. Justice Department and the NBA have denounced the players who’ve chosen to participate in this cultural exchange, which doubles as a birthday present for Kim Jong Un. What the West keeps ignoring is if this cultural exchange is a success, it will lead to other things. It’s obvious Kim and Dennis can directly speak to each other without a translator so…yeah. It’s also seems North Korea isn’t opposed to the idea of opening relations with “the enemy”. Otherwise why invite Rodman back into the country?
All these North Korean refugees jumping down Rodman’s throat on Facebook KNOW he is in an influential position. If he speaks to The Supreme Leader, he will be heard. Going back to Rodman’s thoughts on Mr. Bae’s situation, he said something interesting before he stopped himself in that interview this morning: “You don’t know what happened.” It’s not what he said but the way he said it that I found most telling. Watch the interview again. Notice the increased emotion when he says that sentence. I think Dennis Rodman does know why Mr. Bae is still being held by North Korea. For reasons we don’t know or understand he’s not going to talk about the why. There’s also the fact we know Mr. Bae is still alive and is in a hospital in Pyongyang. If they wanted him dead he would’ve been killed already but he’s being taken care of. He is in a hospital room, not a jail cell.
I believe Dennis Rodman will one day be vindicated as a diplomat in the eyes of the west. As I said on Facebook earlier tonight this game could lead to other things down the road.