Attention-starved former NBA star Dennis Rodman has renewed his effort to bring peace to U.S.-North Korean relations, or is trying to promote his new brand of vodka. With him, it’s hard to tell.
Readers will recall that Rodman made headlines earlier this year when he traveled to North Korea as part of a basketball delegation that was taping an episode for the HBO show Vice. While in the Hermit Kingdom, Rodman struck up a lasting friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. He returned home singing Kim’s praise and awkwardly trying to dodge questions about Pyongyang’s flagrant human rights abuses.
As part of this public spectacle, Rodman has also tried to paint himself as a tireless advocate of peace between the two nations, which technically remain at war from the 1950s conflict. Soon after returning from his first trip to North Korea, for instance, Rodman announced on ABC’s This Week that Kim wanted President Barack Obama to call him.
Evidently deciding that the over half century long hostility between Pyongyang and Washington was mostly due to personal animosity between Obama and Kim, Rodman has previously suggested that the two leaders’ mutual love of basketball could be the key to the two nations finding peace.
Fresh of another trip to North Korea to hang out with Kim Jong-Un and his family, Rodman has cooked up a new idea about how to bring the two leaders together.
A new report from the Associated Press quotes Rodman as saying:
“Everyone knows (President Barack) Obama drinks beer. But you know what? I’m pretty sure he does have a cocktail here or there. I’d love to see him with a ‘Bad Ass Vodka’ shot in his hand, toasting to Kim Jong (Un) and me.”
“That would be awesome,” Rodman added.
Notably, Rodman’s cocktail diplomacy comes as he launches a personal brand of Vodka this week, which he is calling Dennis Rodman: The Original Bad Ass Premium Vodka. He brought a case of said vodka to North Korea during his last trip. Evidently, Kim Jong-Un is a fan.
Rodman goes on in the Associated Press to praise himself for his efforts to mediate the U.S. and North Korea dispute.
“Just think, it’s up to Dennis Rodman to break ground with North Korea,” Rodman said referring to himself in third person (of course). “I’m the only one in the world who will go talk to this guy and try and find some common ground with these people.”
While admitting that “people don’t believe that,” Rodman also notes that many people believe he should win a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
“People put that label on me like it’s my responsibility to save the world,” he said in reference to the Nobel Peace Prize. Shockingly, he is prepared to accept such an honor, saying “If it happens to come to that, then yes, I guess I’m all for it. Let’s just all get together and keep everything cool, man.” This is not the first time he’s raised the subject.
Rodman also claims that the North Korean regime loves the U.S.
“Those guys love a lot about America. They love it. That’s why I go over there,” Rodman says. In all fairness, the Kim family has been known to be obsessed with Hollywood Movies and NBA Basketball, particularly the 1990s Chicago Bulls that Rodman just happens to have been a part of.
Still, as much as North Korean leaders may “love a lot about America,” this admiration hasn’t stopped them from regularly threatening the U.S. with nuclear weapons, or “merciless operations” as Pyongyang sometimes refers to them. In its last public temper tantrum back in April, North Korea issued near daily threats to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons.
It also regularly takes U.S. citizens who visit North Korea hostage, and seeks to use them as bargaining chips with the U.S. government. In the latest such incident, just yesterday it was reported that North Korea has detained an 85-year old Korean War veteran who was visiting the country because, according to his son, it “has been a lifelong dream of his.” He even took language lessons before embarking on his 9 day trip to the Hermit Kingdom. North Korean officials pulled him off his plane as it was getting set to bring him back home after the trip’s completion. He has not been heard from since.
Nonetheless, Rodman is adamant that Obama should seek peace with Kim Jong Un because, “It’s a new era. Just give it a shot.”