Kim Jong Il: 'Crazy Like a Fox'

July 5, 2006 — -- North Korea launched a seventh missile overnight, after having launched six missiles Tuesday, including one with the capability to hit U.S. shores.

The White House called the missile launches a "provocative" act.

In addition to analyzing the missiles' performance, intelligence officials and diplomats looked at the motivation of the man responsible for the launches: North Korea's reclusive and mysterious leader, Kim Jong Il. Kim is known as the "great general" or "dear leader."

The international community is now trying to get a handle on what he hopes to accomplish by challenging the United States.

'He Wants Attention'

Donald Gregg, the former ambassador to South Korea and an ABC News consultant, said today on "Good Morning America" that it was difficult to understand the logic behind the missile launches.

"I think this is a very crude overreaction to a delicate situation that is not going to do North Korea any good," Gregg said, referring to suggestions by two former administration officials that the United States should preemptively strike North Korean missiles before they can launch.

"I think he wants serious attention from us, a guarantee of North Korean security," Gregg said.

Gregg believes, though, this recent move will prove counterproductive for North Korea.

"I think these weapons are built to deter us and not to attack us," he said. "That's why this military provocation is so ineffective, because it does create all kinds of negative reactions here in the states."

'Unpredictable' Leader Isolates Country and Cultivates Personal Image

While Kim faces international scorn, support for him inside North Korea is unlikely to change. North Koreans, for the most part, are completely cut off from outside information or ideas.

While Kim isolates his nation, he fiercely maintains his role as deity.

Every event, from children's dance recitals to parades showcasing the nation's massive military, is designed to glorify the man in charge.

Experts say his moves Tuesday were just as calculated.

"An American holiday, the day of the space shuttle, he launches missiles," said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "It's an in-your-face provocative act. He's trying to say, 'I'm around. I'm a major player.'"

Though he rarely appears in public, Kim is obsessed with his image.

He wears a bouffant hairdo and platform shoes, reportedly, to compensate for his 5-foot-3-inch frame.

He says he has a genius-level IQ, and owns a collection of 20,000 Hollywood movies and 10,000 bottles of wine.

While he lives the life of a playboy, an estimated 2 million to 3 million North Koreans starved to death in the last decade -- 10 percent of the population.

Weaponry is the country's only real export, and profits are spent building a 1 million man army and pursuing nuclear weapons.

Some say Kim's eccentric, even cartoonish, reputation is a cause for concern.

"He's crazy like a fox. He's unpredictable," Richardson said. "He's reckless, but you have to take him seriously."