“In my view, there’s every reason why the U.S. government would want to understand more about the process and how the trip was handled,” he said. “It’s unlikely that this is going to be considered an act of diplomacy in the end, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its utility.”
According to Snyder, information on the “Kremlinology” of the visit and how the logistics of the trip were handled — for instance, where the visitors stayed, how they were treated, and who greeted them — are potentially significant indicators in a country where ritual and protocol are often key to deciphering which officials have the most influence.
Other recent American travelers to North Korea, including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, may have gotten a small view into the country’s power structure, but they were not privy to what Rodman may have seen and heard during his conversations with Kim.
“Dennis Rodman achieved something that Eric Schmidt did not achieve, so that’s worthy of attention,” Snyder said. “Rodman said that the young leader wanted Obama to call him. It certainly doesn’t mean that peace is going to break out, but it certainly should perk up the ears of responsible officials related to this. Yes, it could be a form of disinformation, but if it is a potential lead, then it needs to be analyzed and understood.”