The Washington Times - June 3, 2013, 11:25AM

The unusual meeting between Dennis Rodman and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un produced some hybrid diplomacy that has been both praised and condemned. The half-hour HBO documentary that came out of that encounter airs on the cable channel with much ado June 14.

Mr. Rodman himself is getting back to, uh, normal life in the meantime; he’ll appear with fellow athletic heroes Joe Montana, Dwight Clark and Oscar Robertson at a California autograph festival this weekend.


A silver screen action hero, meanwhile, lent some muscle to a congressional delegation during a recent five-day visit to Russia. The group intended to uncover clues about accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who visited Dagestan for a six-month period in 2012 - and determine if anything could have been done to prevent the attacks.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and five other lawmakers met with Russian parliament members and other officials right into the weekend; the California Republican said many of those meetings were made possible through the efforts of Steven Seagal, an actor with considerable martial arts prowess.

Mr. Seagal escorted the delegation - which included Rep. Michele Bachmann - through the countryside on a trip to the site of a terrorist attack in the Caucasus town of Beslan, where militants seized a school and took more than 1,000 people hostage in 2004.

“Seagal is well connected in Russia. He met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, and last week paid a visit to Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman who rules Chechnya, a province in southern Russia that has seen two brutal wars between federal troops and Chechen separatists since 1994,” noted an Associated Press account of the event.

The congressman repeatedly thanked Mr. Seagal during a followup press event on Sunday, noting that the actor’s effort helped avoid the less-than-ideal experience of past foreign trips, when all of the meetings had been arranged by the U.S. Embassy.

“You know what we got? We got the State Department controlling all the information that we heard,” Mr Rohrabacher said. “You think that’s good for democracy? No way.”

The congressman said that the meetings in Russia ultimately showed there was “nothing specific” that could have helped prevent the Boston Marathon bombings, but that the two countries need to work more closely on joint security threats.