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Relations between the USA and North Korea - Essay Example

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The article being critiqued in this brief paper is the arrival of former NBA star Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, North Korea for a series of exhibition games, together with a film crew and three members of the very famous Harlem Globetrotters. …
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Relations between the USA and North Korea
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It is reminiscent of the famous “ping-pong” diplomacy between the two countries of America and China, in the time of former Pres. Richard Nixon and of Mao Tse-tung of China, which utilized sports as a way to warm up their relations before formal diplomatic relations were established. Besides, the new third-generation leader of North Korea, Kim Jung-un of the Kim dynasty, is a very big or avid fan of basketball, and in particular, that of the Chicago Bulls team franchise of which Rodman was once a member of the triumvirate, together with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, who won their first three of a total six NBA championships together. News of this sort is certainly big news and makes for good copy that can help increase readership or circulation, as it is quite odd for a sports star to become an informal ambassador of goodwill although it is not unheard of. Famous sports stars in tennis or golf had also served as ambassadors in the past, but Rodman in a country like North Korea, which is sometimes called as the Hermit Kingdom due to its international isolation, strict censorship, harsh laws, and brutal, secretive, and one-man rule dictatorship, provides an excellent and rare diplomatic opening for a rapprochement, the tantalizing possibility of re-establishing cordial relations again, as these two countries have a strained relationship from a recently announced nuclear test. (Zinser, 2013, p. 1). The author's main point is that sports is one good way to promote world peace, if all the diplomatic overtures fail at one time or another. Basketball is a global sport although it has not yet attained the same worldwide popularity as soccer or football, but one thing to say about this sport of basketball is it is something distinctly American. Although majority of North Koreans are taught or brainwashed since birth to hate anything remotely American, it does not seem to apply to American basketball. So, using basketball as an opening to exploit a weakness in North Korea's supreme leader is like using back channels in diplomacy, to reduce tensions. The intended audience are the basketball fans worldwide, and Rodman fits the job of an ambassador of goodwill because of his weird antics on and off the court; his presence in the team has attracted an unusual degree of attention from international media as well. Moreover, another audience is probably the American citizenry, who will be given a rare glimpse inside the Hermit Kingdom once filming of the documentary is finished at the end of their trip. Diplomats all over the world will be fascinated how this seemingly minor trip will turn out in the end, how a politics of sports and a politics of diplomacy are mixed for good results (Levermore & Budd, 2004, p. 6). The main point of the author is that diplomacy can take many forms, even the bizarre or the weird, as long as it achieves the aims of foreign policy. In this particular instance, basketball serves as the vehicle by which the two countries attained some form of contact, although it is in a way done indirectly. Hopefully, this initial contacts will lead to further warming of their relations and help avert a possible war due to North Korea's belligerence and hard-line stance. As they say quite often, diplomacy is the art of ambiguity, saying a lot of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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