NBA mega-star Dennis Rodman says he’s in North Korea to do something “pretty positive.” But the rogue state’s propaganda machine will play the visit as an act of U.S. homage. Citizens – whose only source of news is state media – will be told the visit is an official kowtow from the U.S. to the all-powerful Kim Jong Un.
That’s pretty much the way it is every time a famous American visits.
When then former President Bill Clinton landed on North Korean soil to negotiate the release of two American journalists who (quite foolishly) strayed over the North’s border from neighboring China, the visit was played as a powerful leader paying homage to North Korea’s regime. Aid is also depicted by state-controlled media in the dirt-poor state as tribute to the states mighty leader.
When former Secretary of State Madeline Albright in 2000 visited the isolated state, citizens were told she was there to pay respect to their “Dear Leader.”
“These visits tend to get queued up as examples of the regime’s prestige and the respect the rest of the world shows it for the domestic population,” Troy Stangarone, senior director at the Korea Economic Institute, told Borderless News Online.
In the case of former President Bill Clinton’s visit, the visit was spun as a U.S. envoy coming to see the leniency of Kim Jong-il and delivering courteous words from former president Barack Obama.
“The idea is to enhance the cult of personality of the leader. In this case, Clinton knew that they would try to use his visit as a propaganda coup and refused to smile in photos so as not to appear happy to be meeting Kim Jong-il,” he said.
In the case of Dennis Rodman, Kim Jong-un has tried to present a flasher, hipper image as a leader. Rodman’s multiple visits and his birthday serenade helped to demonstrate to North Koreans that famous foreigners love and respect North Korea’s leader. The documentaries of his visits that have been allowed were no doubt done so with the hope of presenting North Korea as a normal country to the outside world, Stangarone said.
ALL LIFE IN NORTH KOREA CONTROLLED BY REGIME
All life is dictated by the regime in North Korea, and is impossible to escape. All citizens are required to regularly attend political meetings, where all must confess loyalty to the leader. One cannot simply stay home and keep to one’s self. Neighbors regularly monitor each other and report to state security officers. Just complaining you are not getting enough to eat can land you in prison for treason, as statements like that are seen as questioning the leader’s ability to provide to the nation.
All media is tightly controlled in North Korea. Radios must have the dial soldered onto one station, and listening to broadcasts from neighboring South Korea are grounds for arrest. Arrest usually involves torture, rape by guards and police (for women inmates) and severe food depravation.
North Korean authorities ensure that no outside information gets in. Foreign media does make its way into the country, but penalties for listening or viewing it are harsh. DVDs and CDs of South Korean movies, TV dramas and music – all the rage in the rest of Asia – are illegal. Anyone found consuming them is subject not only to arrest but also to internment in a “re-education” camp. That’s pretty much a gulag where inmates are forced into classrooms where they are told night and day that Kim Jong Un is pretty much God.
In Rodman’s world of celebrity, he may be unaware of all of this, and perhaps believes the matter of North Korea’s nukes is just an issue of a couple of guys who can’t get along – Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump – and that the issue can just be settled over a beer. That’s pure celebrity nonsense talking.
In truth, Kim Jong Un – with a lot of evidence to back him up – believes his wicked regime can only survive if it has nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Un is the third dictator in the nation’s history, as his father and grandfather took the helm since the end of the Korean War in 1953. In his cunning mind, he’s fighting for his very survival.
NORTH KOREA’S REGIME IS KEEN GEOPOLITICAL OBSERVER
The Kim family have always been astute geopolitical observers. They saw the U.S. overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein, and watched – likely biting their nails – as Saddam was tried as a human rights abuser and executed. The Kims watched in horror as former Libyan dictator was overthrown by a U.S.-led collation and was killed by a local militia. His body was kept for several days in a freezer in a local market, where people nationwide came to gawk at his lifeless corpse. The once powerful dictator was lying with a Popsicle in his back.
Now, Trump has ramped up the rhetoric against the regime, and the man-boobed dictator is likely crapping his pants. He sees in Trump a leader who is tougher on foreign policy than his predecessor.
Rodman’s visit comes at a time when North Korea’s leader is threatening to decimate U.S. cities with nuclear weapons, and is arresting U.S. citizens on trumped-up charges. Some are allegedly being tortured for periods of 24-hours straight.
Rodman has called Kim Jong Un his “best friend” and sang happy birthday to the chubby dictator during his last trip in 2013. During Rodman’s last visit, former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain called the basketball star a “dangerous idiot.”
No material may be fully re-printed or re-broadcast without the written permission of Borderless News Online.