International Relations Sports

Ambassador Rodman and the Diplomacy of Sports

With no peace treaty or diplomatic relations between the U.S. and North Korea, it was up to one man to bring the world together in its enduring love for the Harlem Globetrotters…

Photo by VICE

Photo by VICE

Being in the presence of one of the world’s worst authoritarian regimes must be a little nerve-racking for a guy like Rodman who already seems to possess a nervous energy, but throughout history, sports has been a means to unite nations, or bring us closer together, opening up new understanding. Legendary battles that changed the course of history, whether it was Jesse Owens at the Olympics in Berlin, Ping Pong Diplomacy, Soccer diplomacy, Cricket diplomacy, and now, basketball diplomacy– a sport in which our Olympic team dominates the world is now acting as a bridge to international relations. Sure. Why not? If R.P. McMurphy could get the Chief to put the ball in the basket, maybe Dennis Rodman can do the same for Kim Jong Un? Crazier things have happened.

After the game in which two Americans on each team played alongside North Korean players ended in a 110-110 tie, Kim Jong Un threw an “epic feast,” with endless rounds of drinks and toasting while the rest of his country starved and went to bed in darkness.

Some things take time.