I have put forth my own thoughts about the war drums surrounding Iran and demonstrated that the cries about them possessing nuclear missiles has been propaganda for over two decades. I also have been clear that if we are really concerned about a nuclear threat why we have not dealt with North Korea in a similar fashion to Iran. Well, lo and behold now we know. Yesterday, it came out that it has been determined that North Korea has the ability to put a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile, although it has limited reliability.

The report issued by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) last month was titled "Dynamic Threat Assessment 8099: North Korea Nuclear Weapons Program." Its executive summary reads: "D.I.A. assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles; however the reliability will be low."

Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) that the DIA recently came to this conclusion during recently confirmed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

The New York Times reports,

A spokesman for Mr. Lamborn, Catherine Mortensen, said the material he quoted during the hearing was unclassified. Pentagon officials said later that while the report remained classified, the one-paragraph finding had been declassified but not released. Republicans in Congress have led efforts to increase money for missile defense, and Mr. Lamborn has been critical of the Obama administration for failing to finance it adequately.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, including one this year, and shot a ballistic missile as far as the Philippines in December. American and South Korean intelligence agencies believe that another test — perhaps of a midrange missile called the Musudan that can reach Japan, South Korea and almost as far as Guam — may be conducted in the coming days, to celebrate the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country's founder. At the Pentagon, there is particular concern about another missile, yet untested, called the KN-08, which may have significantly longer range.

According to the Washington Free Beacon,

The disclosure was made during a several-hour hearing at which Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the current budgetary shortfalls as an opportunity to "shape" and "reform" the military for "a different time."

The budget reflects the president's strategy to create "a smaller and leaner force," Hagel said. This drawdown would be two-thirds complete by the end of fiscal year 2014.

Hagel and Dempsey said the mandatory budget cuts known as the "sequester" were detrimental to the military's preparedness. They also noted the fiscal crunch on the military could continue without congressional action, as the Budget Control Act of 2011, which implemented the sequester, contains further cuts in the fall.

Hagel's presentation to the House committee came after President Barack Obama introduced his 2014 budget on Wednesday. The budget cuts about $120 billion from the department's current budget, although it does not include the upcoming sequestration cuts.

The president's budget and its defense component were met with opposition from congressional leaders and outside experts.

No doubt, Barack Obama is already setting up his own idea of sequestration to use as the reason this was not known, even though the sequester only recently was put into effect. However, I'm guessing that sooner or later this will be an excuse that is used for why the information is just now coming out.

Secretary of State John Kerry arrives on Friday in Seoul and then to travel to China and Japan, who North Korea has reportedly told it would target Tokyo. Kerry will allegedly appeal to China to use its influence to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. That's probably not going to happen. In fact, my guess is that China has known of North Korea's progress for some time, thus why they have offered no comment to the DIA's revelation. Second, Kerry is expected to assure South Korea and Japan that the United States remains committed to their defense, despite the fact that we have no money for our own defense.

I'm guessing North Korea will not be abandoning their nuclear program since they have been pursuing it since the late 1950s with the help of the former Soviet Union. Since then, with its own uranium resources, it has successfully launched long range missiles. It also has tested three nuclear devices. The most recent was in February and caused an earthquake that registered 5.1 in magnitude. The estimated yield was six to seven kilotons, according to South Korean officials.

Additionally, China is put in the midst of a serious balancing act. It is the trade and aid they provide to North Korea that keeps the impoverished nation afloat. "It gives China plausible deniability in North Korea's cooperation in the nuclear sphere and missile area with Pakistan and Iran, two countries that give the U.S. and India, China's chief strategic rivals, heartburn," Marcus Noland, a member at the Peterson Institute and author of several books on North Korea, said.

Noland also said that China is concerned that the threats of North Korea are pushing Asia-Pacific countries towards the U.S. which might lead to South Korea and Japan developing their own nuclear deterrent. A February poll indicated that 66.5 percent of South Koreans were in favor of obtaining nuclear weapons.

Noland then went on to point out that if China were to apply too much pressure on North Korea, its regime would collapse. "So paradoxically it is North Korea's weakness that gives it the license to engage in these provocations because while China may disapprove and China may take mild actions to try to discipline North Korea, in the end China fears instability in North Korea more than it fears other outcomes associated with North Korean behavior," he said.

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