Dennis Rodman, former NBA superstar who lost his sports hero status when he was kicked out of the professional association for drug use a long time ago is still a star in North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un’s eyes, as well as a hero in his own. Rodman wants some credit for the release of an American who was being held captive in North Korea. The former NBA player first caused controversy when he elected to visit the dictator in his homeland after learning the man was a big fan of his. Now Rodman says he helped secure Kenneth Bae’s release thanks to a sincere letter he wrote to the North Korean leader. Kenneth Bae, American captive, had been held for two years on charges of trying to overthrow the government. The other prisoner, Matthew Miller, was more recently convicted of spying on the North Korean government with intent to gain access to and expose the inside story of an infamous North Korean prison, rumored to be incredibly inhumane. Both men were officially released this past Saturday shortly following the Director of US Intelligence’s secret trip to North Korea to make the release of the two men happen. The decision to let the two Americans go is the latest evidence that suggests the young leader may have used their release as a tool to test out his first interactions with the Obama administration since taking power.

A lot of people are wondering what the release means for relations between the US and North Korea. I think it was likely a propaganda bit orchestrated by Kim Jong-un to showcase an artificial act of mercy to his people. The North Korean government has spent decades establishing their country’s image. The country likes to brand itself as an independent, authoritative power not be tested, but they have failed to sell this brand to the rest of the world.  As the leader of buying, selling, and improving businesses, I work with people and business owners in dire need of improving their own image so that they may increase their company’s value and market it to sell for millions one day. North Korea should never have attempted to isolate itself from other nations. The country’s people are starving, and the fact of the matter is that the nation can no longer survive without changing the ways in which it currently operates. North Korea is a severe dictatorship, where the people worship their country’s leader like a God. However, this God-like persona Kim Jong-un’s forefathers have been able to successfully maintain is likely becoming more and more difficult to keep up the illusion of. The only ones who are buying what image North Korea is selling is the country itself, because the people have been isolated, suppressed and forced to do as they are told. In my award winning and best-selling book, I state that in order to build a business of value, you must plan your business so that it is capable of operating independently and without its owner. North Korea currently has practically nothing valuable to offer outside countries. They’ve been hit by a severe drought in the past, which has cut their food supply in half. Many in the country are starving, but because previous leaders have refused to cooperate or work with other nations in the past, the country’s economic situation has continued to spiral into despair.

The leader has been completely absent from the media over recent months too. And, then he finally did show back up in the public eye, the plump man was sporting a cane and limping. Weakness is a dire and unacceptable characteristic to have in North Korea. The North Korean dictatorship has been known to exterminate physically handicapped individuals within their society in the past. There’s a reason you never see handicapped North Koreans, ever. Perhaps though, the dictator is looking for creative ways to bypass this pre-conceived notion on physical limitations. Perhaps, the release of these two Americans may in fact be a sign that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is finally trying diplomacy on for size.

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