A North Korean Solution That Just Might Work

There is justifiable concern over the possibility of the North Korean crisis escalating into war, either deliberately or through miscalculation. Many experts agree that Kim Jong-un is a rational, although dangerous, leader, whose primary motivation is regime survival. According to a recent statement by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, all options regarding North Korea are currently on the table. All have drawbacks. The solution proposed here, which is probably nowhere near the table, has no drawbacks, and is incredibly simple: establish an NBA franchise in Pyongyang.

This proposal is almost certain to be accepted by Kim, whose passion for the NBA is well known and long established, even antedating his affection for intercontinental ballistic missiles and thermonuclear weapons.

The proposal has historical precedent, as President Nixon’s so-called ping-pong diplomacy opened up relations with China. It is also very likely to assuage Kim’s concerns that the United States will initiate military operations against his regime. To date, the United States has never conducted military operations against a country with an NBA franchise.

It would open up North Korea to visits from its Asian neighbors, many of whom are passionate about basketball. It would also give North Korea a badly-needed source of additional revenue, as NBA franchises invariably lead to commercial development in neighboring areas. Since some of these commercial developments would almost certainly be coffee shops and fast-food restaurants, the mingling of cultures would help North Korea learn about the United States.

The one American known to have a friendly relationship with Kim is Dennis Rodman, the obvious choice for coach of the Pyongyang team.

On the surface, this proposal undoubtedly seems ludicrous. In an era where the ludicrous happens with surprising frequency, it at least deserves consideration. At the very least, have the NBA play a game in Pyongyang. Look what happened when ping-pong players from the United States visited China almost half a century ago. China became a major trading partner of the United States and, despite occasional friction between the two nations, is no longer regarded as the ominous monolithic threat it was half a century ago.