Even though we frequently think that we are at the center of the universe, we here in the Middle East are for once on the sidelines as we watch the back and forth verbal fireworks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-un. It’s “Rocket Man” vs the “Dotard”. U.S.threats to “totally destroy North Korea” and North Korean threats to “sink” Japan and to reduce the U.S. to “ashes and darkness”.
Behind the mutual bluster, apparently the North Koreans are genuinely confused about the mixed messages coming out of Washington, and have been sending officials from their Foreign Ministry to hold meetings with Americans — usually former diplomats and think-tankers — in neutral places such as Geneva, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to try to understand what the “Tweeter in Chief” means. And also to understand why Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appear to be directly contradicting the president so often.These meetings usually are referred to as “Track 1.5” talks because they are official (Track 1) on the North Korean side but unofficial (Track 2) on the American side, although the U.S. government is kept informed of the discussions. Today, Tillerson even confirmed that there are a “number of lines of communication” with Pjongyang, and that they are “probing” the possibility of talks.
South Korea believes in dialogue, not military action
Bucking the nationalist/populist trend sweeping much of the world, the South Koreans chose to elect as their president in the last elections the dovish President Moon Jae-in, a firm believer in dialogue between North and South Korea. In August, at the annual speech to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the nation’s liberation from Japanese military rule that began in 1910 and ended in 1945, he said that there will be no military action upon the Korean peninsula without Seoul’s consent and that the government would prevent war by all means.
“Military action on the Korean peninsula can only be decided by South Korea and no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea,” said Moon .“The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means,” he added.
So it would seem that President Moon would be the ideal mediator between Trump and Kim. The problem is, he has no credibility with the Northern leader to play such a role, since Kim sees him as an American lackey.
How about UN Secretary General Guterres?
Another possibility raised by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in his speech at the recent party conference in Brighton is that UN Secretary General António Guterres be mobilized to go both to meet with the two leaders in Pyongyon and Washington, though unfortunately it’s doubtful that Trump would be ready to allow the UN to be involved in such mediation. And North Korea may still hold a grudge against the UN for having officially been the other side in the Korean War.
Sitting here in the Holy Land, the land of miracles, where Jesus walked on water and Moses heard God speaking from the Burning Bush, and using the Ahha! principle, it struck me that there is only one person suited to be a credible mediator between the American and North Korean presidents.
Dennis Rodman could be the man!
That’s right, Dennis Rodman, the former Chicago Bulls basketball star.
After-all, Rodman is a personal friend of the Supreme North Korean Leader, having brought a team of former NBA players to the country to play the national team and run basketball clinics. And unlike LeBron James and most of his current and former NBA colleagues, Rodman declared his support for Trump in the 2016 American elections.
And unlike Steph Curry and his colleagues at the Golden State Warriors, Rodman is still undoubtedly very much persona grata in the White House, and also at Mar-a-Lago.
So now is the time, Dennis, to step up for your country, and for mankind. It’s time to do your bit to help prevent World War III. Find the way to help your two friends get themselves out of this muddle.
Save the world. You can do it.