The Trump administration may be taking a new foreign diplomacy tack, sending high-profile Trump supporters to ease sticky relationships. First up appears to be Dennis Rodman, who touched down in North Korea Tuesday on a goodwill mission to a country that has been one of Trump’s primary foreign foils.
In a “bizarre coincidence,” North Korea released American college student Otto Warmbier, who has been imprisoned for over a year following his arrest for ripping down a propaganda poster in a staff-only area of his hotel, just as Rodman was landing in Pyongyang.
Not all the news is happy, though. Warmbier reportedly contracted botulism shortly after his trial, and has been in a coma for a year, according to his parents. The prisoner release is being treated as a medical evacuation. And Warmbier is only one of four American political prisoners being held by the North Korean government.
Enter Rodman, who endorsed Trump for President back last summer, and in March urged the new President to let him handle North Korean relations. He told reporters on the ground in Pyongyang that, while he’s not on an official mission, he’s there to encourage athletics, and hopefully “open a door”—and he says he believes Trump will be happy with the results.
But, it turns out, you can’t just randomly go to North Korea, even if you are a famous athlete. The visa process requires the State Department’s assent, and while Rodman probably isn’t an official envoy, its unlikely the White House—and Trump, who is friends with Rodman—was totally in the dark about the athlete’s plans.
In fact, it seems, rumors have been floating for some time that the Trump administration intended to send a “Trump associate” to help smooth things over in North Korea. It’s entirely possible that “associate” is Rodman, who has an ongoing, friendly relationship.
This, of course, begs the question—is this the new Trump foreign policy? Trump’s celebrity backers are few, but pack a punch, and if Rodman is any indication, that could make a big difference to Trump’s success abroad.
Kid Rock could obviously have an impact on European Union bureaucrats; they could bond over their shared love of weirdly designed and oddly nonfunctional hats. Ted Nugent and Gary Busey could use their combined subtlety to completely redefine our relationship with key players in the Middle East. Since Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan have similar reputations to Rodman, perhaps we could send them off to help handle the larger burgeoning crisis in Southeast Asia.
Scott Baio’s devil-may-care attitude may be exactly what’s needed to finally bring peace to the Middle East. Don’t like him, tough. He’ll see to it that you come to a full settlement on the Gaza strip whether you like it or not. And who hasn’t at least briefly considered sending Sarah Palin to Russia—even if not exactly for a diplomatic mission.
The possibilities are endless—and it all hinges on Rodman’s success.