Far be it from me to defend the tattooed rebounding legend, but I do think we need more people trying to build some kinds of bridges with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Sure, people with a little tact would be good, but Rodman's antics would matter less if he were one of hundreds instead of "the only American, and one of the few foreigners, with access to the young leader."
North Koreans have suffered tremendously under the Kims, and the urge to punish evil is perfectly understandable. But as I was reading up on South African apartheid after the death of Nelson Mandela last month, I came across the argument that US sanctions against the racist regime had in fact hurt the country's downtrodden and actually helped the ruling class hold onto power, just as it has in Cuba. Our noble intentions are not worth much if we end up doing more harm than good. We need more, not fewer, connections with the Hermit Kingdom if we want to help its victims claw their way out of their tragic predicament.