Is Kim Jong-Il Crazy Like a Fox?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN KASICH, FOX NEWS HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, a look at one of the most dangerous men in the world — Kim Jong-Il is North Korea's ruthless dictator. He's said to be unpredictable, brilliant, downright evil. Under his rule, tens of thousands of North Koreans have reportedly been starved, tortured and killed.

Beyond North Korea, he has been taunting the world with threats of a nuclear program, and now he's ratcheting up those threats by test firing seven missiles over the last two days.

Joining us now from Washington is Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation.

All right, Peter, I want to know, first of all, if this guy is stable? You know, he's kidnapped actors and tied them to a chair and made them watch movies with him.

He claims in his first round of golf, he had 11 holes in one. He ordered a portrait — his portrait — in every home. He directs movies in a production place that he started. And they claim he was born in a cabin on a sacred mountaintop with a double rainbow.

I mean, come on, this guy is, you know — and he's messing around with nukes.

PETER BROOKES, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Right. Well, you're dealing with a cult of personality here. I mean, this person is supposed to be the ideal North Korean man, the ideal North Korean leader, but don't be fooled. We should not underestimate this person.

There's a number of other things out there, John, about him as well. I mean, he was behind a lot of North Korea's early terrorist actions against South Koreans. He killed South Korea cabinet members. He brought down a South Korean airliner. That goes back to the 1980s.

But the idea here is that he has to create this sort of Potemkin village, this cult of personality to be able to hold onto the reins of power in North Korea, because he doesn't offer the North Korean people much of anything at all.

KASICH: You know, Peter, the reason I bring it up, it's one thing to be a fanatic. It's another thing to be nuts. Because you can — sometimes I guess you can speak to a fanatic. If somebody is mentally unstable, you can't even have a conversation with him.

What you're saying is you think he is stable; he's just a manipulator and — all right.

Is he in charge? I remember they had these stories that were in the paper, where they were yanking his portrait down off of buildings and in these public squares. And there was some theory that maybe the military was going to move on this guy. Those stories have gone away. What do you know?

BROOKES: Well, I think he's firmly in charge. I mean, he looks through the world, through a different prism than the rest of us do. And so he does things that we find to be very unusual. And that's — and we should find them very unusual.

But I think he is firmly in charge. What he does, John, is he uses the money that he's able to bring into the country and a lot of this through illegal means, such as trafficking narcotics, methamphetamine, heroin, fake Viagra, counterfeiting U.S. dollars, selling ballistic missiles.

And what he does is he buys off the other power leaders in North Korea, especially the military. Now there have been limited stories about uprisings, some civil disobedience, even some individual disobedience in terms of North Korea.

But he's not afraid to throw people in the gulag. There are 200,000 people in North Korean political prison camps today out of a country of 22 million.

Another thing, John, is that he's starved over two million people out of those 22 million over the last 10 years to pursue nuclear weapons, to pursue ballistic missiles, and a conventional army that ranges over one million men.

KASICH: Is there an underground movement, Peter? You sort of speak 200,000 in prison. You know, there are tapes constantly being smuggled out of there. How significant is the underground movement in this country?

BROOKES: It's not significant enough. There are probably between 30,000 and 300,000 North Korean refugees in northern China. They're able to go back and cross the border.

Imagine a country that's impoverished like North Korea, corruption works. If you can bribe a guard and get back and forth across the border to bring food for your family, to bring in money, other things to work abroad, I mean, this sort of stuff actually goes on.

But the underground movement isn't significant enough. This is the most repressive state in the world.

KASICH: Last question. We're running out of time here. When things — when he does things like this, if the world unanimously condemns him, does that then put ideas in the military that maybe this guy is too crazy; he's got to go?

BROOKES: Well, that's a possibility. But the question is, John, what do you get if he's overthrown? You get something worse.

KASICH: Yes. His father was a nut case, too.

Peter, thanks for being with us.

BROOKES: Thanks, John.

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