Dennis Rodman
Guards man their post in a train station along the border between North and South Korea. (Rosemary Meacham-Zittel)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — As tensions with North Korea rise to the highest levels in years, the world watches and wonders how far this will really go. Normally when there are tensions between two countries, each side sends over an ambassador or two to do a bit of back-room negotiation so everyone can come out looking like a winner — or at least not a loser.

This situation is entirely different, however, because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with North Korea whatsoever. Even our closest ally in the region, South Korea, has no way to contact North Korea because Kim Jong Un cut the emergency hotline in 2016. Plans by the South to re-open it in May of this year stalled.

China is the only real “friend” to North Korea, mainly because they share a land border, and nearly all of North Korea’s food and energy supplies arrive via one road from China. This is a friendship of necessity rather than trust. So, what is China doing to help? Actually, they have proposed an option to get the discussions started, called “suspension for suspension,” but their terms are not acceptable to the Trump administration.

The last time the U.S. needed to discuss a sticky situation with a country where it had no diplomats, as in the case of Cuba in 2015, we got the pope involved. I doubt even the pope wants to go anywhere near North Korea. Although rumors have surfaced that the backdoor UN diplomatic channel in New York has been re-established, if these two clowns of leaders keep up the supercharged vitriol, one wrong tweet could accidentally launch World War III before these diplomats even have time for a tea.

What is the U.S. to do?

It’s time to send in Dennis Rodman.

Dennis Rodman: Friends with both sides

Rodman, a basketball hall of famer who played college hoops at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, seems truly to be friends with both sides. He’s appeared twice on The Celebrity Apprentice and tweeted his support for Trump during the campaign. On the other side of the world, The Worm says he has sung karaoke and ridden horses with Kim Jong-Un.

Rodman was in North Korea on his fifth trip there as recently as June 13, although for what purpose has not fully been discovered. To his credit, Rodman announced that “The main thing we doing is trying to open doors between both countries,” which might be exactly what the U.S. needs right now to avoid catastrophe.

Over the years, Rodman became famous for his shenanigans and tattooed, pierced and sometimes cross-dressed look. He’s also done a few stints in rehab, including one paradoxically right after his 2014 trip to North Korea. As he moves into the second (or possibly third) phase of his career, maybe he’s genuinely looking to take on a more serious persona, to give something back, to fight the good fight.

Fight clowns with clowns

Anyone, including Rodman, can see the benefit of avoiding nuclear war. Indeed, Rodman has taken this new “career” wholly to heart and is even selling limited edition Ambassador Rodman T-shirts for $24.99 to help “save the world.”

Trump did impose a ban on Americans traveling to North Korea, but as long as Rodman arrives before the ban takes effect on September 1, Trump won’t even have to bend his own rules.

So why not? Let’s fight clowns with clowns. He might be the only person both sides will actually listen to.