“What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men.”
— Strother Martin in “Cool Hand Luke”
The ongoing chess match with North Korea we’ve faced for the last couple of weeks made me think of this line. It’s really true — there are some men you just can’t reach, no matter how hard you try.
It’s an interesting game we’re engaged in, though it’s still not clear how worried we should be. “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Un moves a missile to the coast, so we move a Patriot missile defense battery to Guam. He moves another missile, so we move a giant radar out into the ocean. So far, we’re matching him move-for-move.
Meanwhile, our other buddy, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (or as I like to say, Meow Mood, I Need a Dinner Jacket), is probably doing God-knows-what because the crazy little idiot in North Korea has all our full attention.
But whereas Strother Martin made a compelling point, Kim Jong-Un can be gotten to. Unfortunately, it takes a 6-foot-6-inch, cross-dressing freak of nature and washed-up basketball star nicknamed “The Worm” to make the ruthless dictator smile and open up a bit.
Who knew that Dennis Rodman would take on an unlikely role as a U.S. foreign ambassador? No one. Who knew that he would fail so miserably in his new self-appointed role? Everyone.
Rodman accompanied North Korea’s little leader (5 foot 2 inches) to watch the Harlem Globetrotters once again defeat the Washington Generals. It’s fitting that Kim Jong-Un would love the Globetrotters, because they’re the only team that’s never lost a game. Do you think Kim Jong-Un has ever lost a game of basketball?
North Korea’s deceased former dictator Kim Jong-Il also loved basketball. He and his son, Kim Jong-Un, bonded over their love of American basketball, particularly the Chicago Bulls. However, Michael Jordan — not Rodman — was their favorite player.
Perhaps that is now why we were on the precipice of war with a 30-year-old dwarf with nuclear capabilities at his disposal. It’s all because we couldn’t get Michael Jordan to go pal around with the little guy.
We instead allowed Rodman to leave his cage, and — much like a Gremlin that was fed after midnight — he made things worse.
Did the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense or the CIA even ask Jordan to go? Of course, it’s his right to say no, but wouldn’t it at least be worth exploring?
Jordan could have the ability to solve this crisis with the ease of winning six NBA championships. It could certainly turn out better than his short-lived baseball career. (I was fortunate enough to see Jordan hit one of his paltry three home runs as a Birmingham Baron.)
Picture if you will Jordan stepping off the plane in North Korea, carrying husky youth-sized Chicago Bulls track suits and autographed basketballs for the Dear Leader. They could feast on whatever Dear Leader likes to eat, and laugh at the misfortunes of the millions of impoverished North Koreans.
They could talk about basketball, drive golf carts up and down the hallway of Dear Leader’s palatial hacienda, throw water balloons at the generals, have pillow fights, talk about girls and play a little one-on-one hoops. Jordan, of course, would have to lose, or else face immediate execution.
In the middle of the night, Jordan could sneak out of the palace, head down to the arsenal and snip the wires on all Dear Leader’s planes, missiles, tanks and whatever else he might have to use against us. Jordan could be our James Bond, Michael Bourne and … well, Michael Jordan … all rolled into one. This plan could work; I’m sure of it.
Besides, what else is Jordan up to these days besides playing golf, growing that ridiculous-looking mustache and hawking BVDs on TV? Nothing.
Common-sense problems require common-sense solutions, and I can’t think of a better solution to deal with Mr. Un or Mr. Jong-Un, whatever his last name may be.
Come on, M.J. It’s time to step up the plate and take one for the team, with the team being your country.
If a ruthless dictator with a desire to spend time with the editor of a community newspaper ever emerges, I’ll be the first to volunteer. Besides, I’m terrible at basketball. Just ask my dad.
— Managing editor and world problem solver Adam Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.