The little things are what I first notice in the news. This morning, for instance, that the U.S. government is fast-tracking the shipment of anti-tank missiles to the government of (some of) Iraq. This, we can only suppose, so that Baghdad’s shrinking army may try to destroy some of the U.S.-supplied tanks and other heavy equipment, as well as the light equipment, that their soldiers abandoned to the Daesh in their hasty retreat from Ramadi; as well as all the equipment lost during their many previous hasty retreats. But will the same soldiers run before firing them, this time? I should think so.

There are also bigger things, such as the Syrian army’s surrender of Palmyra to the same Daesh. Some journalists speculate that these Sunni Islamic psychotics may blow up the archaeological remains of this ancient “Venice of the sands.” As they have done the same with all other pre-Islamic, and non-Sunni monuments that have fallen into their hands, I will admit the possibility. They will also, once again, massacre the defenceless, &c.

Total, I’d say, is the stupidity, incompetence, and all-round dysfunctionality of President Obama, his executive, and his State Department. Whether in responding to events in “Iraq and Syria,” or Libya, or Yemen, or in Baltimore for that matter, or to a train accident, or to anything, we can depend on all administrative spokesmen to utter mendacious absurdities including easily demonstrated lies, then follow up with action that is dramatically counter-productive. And yet they continue to enjoy the unflinching support of their clientele, both in the progressive elites, and the electoral underclasses.

With one exception. I note that a State Department spokesman is quoted thus, on Palmyra this morning:

“You’d have to be delusional not to take something like this and say, What went wrong? How do you fix it? And how do we correct course from here?”

This frank acknowledgement that Obama’s policies have been “delusional” is a welcome first step. There are foreign ministries across Europe that could benefit from a like candour. For some reason, our foreign department in Ottawa — so far as it is staffed by Stephen Harper’s political hacks — more or less understands the situation. They know, for instance, that Israel is our friend, and that Iran is our enemy. I can’t really account for this. Expect Harper to be voted out later this year.

All the above by way of supplementing what I wrote Tuesday under the title, “Ramadi.” I should have mentioned it then.

While there are urgent measures all Western governments should be taking, by way of armed ground intervention in the Middle East, the next best response would be to do nothing. For doing nothing would be a radical improvement on what they are doing now. The United States has become, through layered delusions, the leading supplier of hideously powerful (and expensive) weapons to the Sunni Islamist Internationale; and through negotiations with Iran, the chief inspiration for the current regional arms race. Too, the administration has been consistently unhelpful, to the point of sabotage, when regional allies (especially Israel, Egypt, Jordan) have tried to cover for its mistakes.

“Nothing” beats catastrophic error, every time. It can even provide a positive: an opportunity for the politicians to stare at their mess, and ask for advice, ideally from people whose track record isn’t consistently zero, as everyone Obama and company now consult. In this case, perhaps a chance to recall some of the demonized “neocons” from the previous administration — men who could actually read Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.

But here we run up against one of the “problems of democracy” to which I sometimes allude. In nine of ten cases, overall, “nothing” is the best thing a government can do, and in the tenth case, the best alternative to doing what is counter-productive. But the dynamic of democracy (with its drumbeat media) is such, that nothing is the one thing no government can do.