Former Jordan sidekick Dennis Rodman, last seen palling around with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and offering some quarter-baked thoughts about protestors, is back doing what he does best, which is wedging himself back into the spotlight in the most moronic way possible. Rodman has visited North Korea four times, most recently in 2014 to hang out with repressive royalty and put on an exhibition game. He blamed “the pressure that was put on him to be a combination ‘super human’ political figure and ‘fixer’” for the bender he went on in North Korea that preceded a rehab stint and he half-apologized for hanging out with Kim Jong-un, but he is back in Pyongyang for a short visit this week.
He spoke with reporters in the Beijing airport before heading to North Korea and said he hoped to do something “pretty positive” in the country, and that he was not there to negotiate for the Donald Trump regime. Tensions between the United State and North Korea are rather high at the moment, although the North Korean government did release American student Otto Warmbier after a 17-month imprisonment right before Rodman’s arrival. It appears as if the two events are unrelated:
A US national security spokesman, Michael Anton, told CNN there is no connection between Rodman’s visit and Warmbier’s release. Anton said Rodman was not acting as a representative of the US government or President Donald Trump and stated that he does not believe the President has spoken to Rodman since he entered office.
So if he’s not pretending to do diplomacy or putting on a basketball show for the country’s dictator, what’s Rodman doing in North Korea? He seems to be doing promotional work for a weed-centric cryptocurrency startup and his stated goal is a vague nothingburger about building connections. Daniel Pinkston, a professor at Troy University in Seoul and one of his advisers, sort of hinted that Rodman was an envoy sent to ease tensions between the two countries.
“We all have specialties, but Dennis does have a view about human beings and the natural state of affairs ... his view seems to me is that if people will talk and interact and if there’s dialogue and exchanges and interactions, this process will naturally lead to de-escalation,” Pinkston told CNN.
The State Department declined to comment on Rodman’s visit, although the Washington Post suggested that he might be in the country to establish a backchannel of sorts between Trump and Kim Jong-un. Rodman is, of course, a clueless troll, so to read any cunning or noble intentions into what is a PR stunt would be giving him too much credit.