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Monday, September 9, 2013

What do Bashar al-Assad and Dennis Rodman have in common? Kim Jong-un.

Posted by on Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM

You know whose eardrums are definitely being tapped by the NSA? Dennis Rodman's.

On Sunday, the name of Kim Jong-un's baby became known almost by accident, courtesy of a certain former US basketball star who keeps popping up in Pyongyang.

Dennis Rodman has already described Kim as an "awesome guy". On Sunday, he told the Guardian the leader was also a "good dad" to his baby daughter, whom he named as Ju-ae.

"The Marshal Kim and I had a relaxing time by the sea with his family," Rodman said of his recent visit to the world's most isolated country. "We shared many meals and drinks where we discussed our plans to play a historic friendship basketball game between North Korea and the US as well as ways to develop their basketball team."

Some folks are upset that a wealthy, tattooed American giant is relaxing by the sea with one of the most repressive heads of state in the world. But one North Korea specialist—Daniel Pinkston in Seoul—says it's a two-way opportunity:

"The risks and costs are very, very low, and what you're creating is a channel for the exchange of ideas. It's a very small channel, but it's there."

He said the interaction between Kim and Rodman sent out a signal to the world – and to North Koreans. "Here's someone who's one of the most nonconformist individuals you can think of. And here's the leader, embracing him. That is an implicit signal – it's OK to be different."

In other North Korea news, it looks like the Hermit Kingdom might have had a little something to do with the 1,400 people—including 400 children—killed during those gas attacks in Syria:

... Sankei Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper known for its North Korea coverage, reported that in April, Turkey had seized a shipment of arms, ammunition and gas masks en route from North Korea.

The Turkish government has not commented on the alleged confiscation. If true, the discovery suggests the military may have foreseen using chemical weapons, and sought protective gear for its own troops.

And in other Syria news, it looks like there might be a fresh new deal that circumvents a US military strike:

A seemingly offhand suggestion by Secretary of State John Kerry that Syria could avert an American attack by relinquishing its chemical weapons received an almost immediate welcome from Syria, Russia, the United Nations, a key American ally and even some Republicans on Monday as a possible way to avoid a major international military showdown in the Syria crisis. A White House official said the administration was taking a “hard look” at the idea.

Sounds like a good starting point, at least—I imagine Obama is eager to find a way out of this "red line" trap the US has created for itself, since our track record of trying to make people's lives more peaceful by sending in our military has not been a great one.

(Also, who would've guessed you could play six degrees of separation with despots and Dennis Rodman?)


Comments (6) RSS

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Arguing that Dennis Rodman going to North Korea is creating a channel for the exchange of ideas is falsely predicated on the notion that Dennis Rodman actually has any ideas. Is that what Pinkston meant when he wrote "a very small channel"?
Posted by carnivorous chicken on September 9, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
". . . since our track record of trying to make people's lives more peaceful by sending in our military has not been a great one."

Quite an understatment given the history of the US in the Philippines in the late 1800s, early 1900s!

Quite an understatment given the history of the US in dropping all those bombs over the sovereign territory of Vietnam and killing millions of Vietnames (and Laotians, Cambodians, etc.).

And then there was Iraq. . .
Posted by sgt_doom on September 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Report this
And the latest ForStat (Status of Forces):…
Posted by sgt_doom on September 9, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
venomlash 4
@1: Rodman has ideas. Extremely weird ones, but he has them.
Posted by venomlash on September 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM · Report this
The real news in this post was tacked on the end. Curious that, but then again Celebrity tends to blind.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on September 9, 2013 at 8:04 PM · Report this
sirkowski 6
this "red line" trap the US has created for itself

Let's not blame Assad for gassing his civilian population, it's Obama's fault.

Also, that 'specialist' seems pretty naive.
Posted by sirkowski on September 10, 2013 at 1:38 PM · Report this

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