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The Report from Iron Mountain
Bill Bonner

Support for war flags... even as the health of the state depends on it

Laugh…and know. ~ Marcus Valerius Martialis

Every day the war drums beat louder. Asia Times:

US provocatively points new nuke-tipped missile at China

The US has just tested a new type of nuclear-tipped air launch cruise missile, reaffirming the viability of the air-based leg of its nuclear triad against evolving threats from near-peer adversaries China and Russia with profound implications for regional stability and global non-proliferation norms.

This month, The Warzone reported that the US Air Force had conducted nine flight tests of its future nuclear-tipped AGM-181A Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) cruise missile prototypes, including one test with a mock nuclear warhead.

Waning Support

When Europeans were just beginning to discover North America, an intrepid explorer spent time with the tribes along the Hudson Bay of Canada. He reported that one day, the young men of the tribe took their weapons and headed north. He thought they were on a hunting party. For weeks they continued…until the trees had disappeared …and it looked like desolate tundra. Finally, they found what they were looking for – an Eskimo village. The Eskimos were different people – different language, different culture… Wasting no time, the Indians attacked and slaughtered everyone in the village – men, women, children.  

They were on a crusade. And they targeted people they must have viewed as ‘bad.’   Were they bad because they worshiped other gods? Or because they worshiped no gods at all? Were they bad because they had bad breath…or because the Indians lived on a vast, mostly-empty continent and the Eskimos were the only plausible ‘enemy’ within range?

The war in the Ukraine seems to be winding down. When Zelensky spoke to the UN last week, many of the seats were empty. Russia is winning; the rest of the world is losing interest. Reuters:

US public support declines for arming Ukraine, Reuters/Ipsos poll shows

Support for U.S. weapon shipments is down from May, when a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed 46% of Americans backed sending arms, while 29% were opposed and the rest unsure.

Ukrainian forces have retaken a series of villages and settlements in the counteroffensive that began in June, but its soldiers have been hampered by vast Russian minefields and trenches.

The White Flag

The Ukraine is running out of weapons, money, and enthusiasm. Most important, it is running out of meat for its grinder. The average age of its soldiers is said to be 40 years. Young men leave before they can be drafted; they aren’t willing to die for whatever crusade Zelensky is leading.    

What is surprising to us is how many are still there. All Russia asked was to keep NATO out of the Ukraine. Dying so that your country can join NATO does not seem particularly attractive.

In a similar situation young Americans would scurry out of town too. At least, that was the finding of a survey reported in the Daily Mail. Voters were asked:

'Assume there is an invasion of America by another country and they were on the brink of victory. 

'You can either almost certainly die fighting for your country, or surrender and survive. What would you do?'

Of young people, 18-29, only 30% would fight.

No matter. History tells us that it is easy to gin up a war fever and get millions of people killed for no apparent reason. All you need is an enemy.

And right now, America’s foreign policy experts…its glorious think tank generals…and its newspaper heroes turn their eyes east – to China.  

What have the Chinese done to us? Don’t know? But that was the point of the ‘Report from Iron Mountain.’ An enemy doesn’t have to do something, he just has to be something – a useful foe. 

The Health of the State

China is the world’s greatest success story – ever. Since 1979, it brought 800 million people up from the grit and slime of Mao’s communist poverty into the modern world of capitalism, decent salaries, abundant food and technological wonders, such as its high speed rail and Shanghai’s maglev train. The US can’t match it.  

But instead of admiring it…trying to learn from it…and hoping to profit from it, all of which would benefit the American people, China is becoming the enemy the empire elite need. Richard Cullen:

Bad-tempered coverage of China continues to flourish across the entire US media. It ranges from fire-breathing to pearl-clutching. Most commentators look daggers at Beijing in a dozen different over-cooked ways – and especially at the Communist Party of China – while reminding readers and viewers of America’s continuing paramount superpower status.

Truth emerges, often, in unexpected places. The “Report from Iron Mountain” may have been a spoof, designed only to elicit a knowing chuckle from the cynical cognoscenti, but it reveals the real cause of war better than any group of federal hacks ever could.

The supposed background is that a 15-member group of pipe smokers got together in a Special Study Group to speculate on the consequences of ‘peace.’ They met in a nuclear-secure bunker under Iron Mountain.

They came to the conclusion that government is incompatible with ‘peace.’ It can’t exist without war. Nation states only exist so they can make war.   

There was nothing new about this insight.

“War is the health of the state,” said Randolph Bourne. War is not just useful to government; it is government. The defining difference between the US government and the Catholic Church, Kiwanis Club or Walmart is that the former uses force to get what it wants. The latter do not. Without the use of force – police, jails, wars – the ‘state’ would have no reason to exist.  

Tune in Monday…for more on why war is inevitable…and why the US will probably lose it.     


Bill Bonner







Founder of Bonner Private Research and owner of the Agora Companies.

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