The New York Times reports that “South Korea has determined that North Korea is capable of mounting a nuclear warhead on its medium-range Rodong ballistic missile.” If North Korea can mount a warhead on a medium range missile, there are few barriers to mounting it on their ICBM.

Because President Obama must protect his fatally-flawed Iran nuclear deal at all costs, the U.S. line always seems to be to hide its head in the sand of “see no evil,” and pretend North Korea and Iran are always many years from being able to accomplish any of their stated and suspected nuclear and missile goals–no matter the proof otherwise.

North Korea can therefore build and test ICBMs in violation of the U.N. resolution, test submarine missile launches, launch ICBMs on a missile defense-defeating polar trajectory, and test atom bombs and H-bomb components; and the official response is always “no need to worry, they are years from possibly being a threat.”

Iran can sign an agreement financing their nuclear & ICBM programs, get away with self-inspections, prevent inspections at military sites, test their missiles in violation of the U.N. resolution; and frequently proclaim they will destroy the U.S. and Israel; and the official response is always “no need to worry, they are years from possibly being a threat.”

The White House’s expected response from this warhead news may be more “head in sand” excuses to claim they are lying or otherwise incapable of launching a nuclear warhead on ICBMs now capable of reaching orbit (and therefore landing anywhere on Earth).

How would they know? The U.S. has extremely little intelligence from within North Korea or Iran.

The same “head in sand” thinking gave us Pearl Harbor.

In a March 15 response to a similar North Korean declaration, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook downplayed the news, saying “we have not seen North Korea demonstrate capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and again, put it on a ballistic missile. …Every effort should be made to try and deescalate tensions in that part of the world.” Cook refused to address a reporter’s serious question, “how would they demonstrate that other than using it?” 

The correct and strategically-based response to countries from which we have limited intelligence is to over-estimate, not underestimate their capabilities, and to plan truly effective covert and overt responses to make sure their nuclear and missile hardware and accomplishments fail or are destroyed.

Only that magnitude of action would guarantee there would never be a “Pearl Harbor” surprise where a North Korean or Iranian electromagnetic pulse (E.M.P.) attack could destroy our electric grid and kill an estimated 90% of Americans within a year.

The next president must understand and publicly reveal that Iran’s and North Korea’s capabilities are far in advance of what President Obama dares admit, and to take all actions necessary to neutralize both the immediate military threats as well as the regimes themselves.

Step one would be to harden our electric grid from EMP attack–to prevent anyone from exploiting our Achilles’ Heel, and step two must be regime change–for both regimes will stop at nothing to achieve their often and clearly stated goals to destroy the U.S.

A “head in the sand” defense strategy invites the most tragic of attacks, in stark contrast to President Reagan’s “peace through strength” strategy which resulted in Iran unconditionally releasing the U.S. Embassy hostages the moment he took the oath of office in 1981.