Strategic Policymaking In Democracies

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provided a case study in how democracies react to existential challenges

Allan Milne Lees


Representative democracy at its finest. Image credit: CardFinder

What follows is a fictionalized summary of what in reality comprises many tens of thousands of hours of lengthy discussions focusing on minutiae, on the results of the most recent public opinion polls, and — most importantly of all — on what the “news” media is presently telling people to believe and therefore must be reacted to in some way.

In this fictionalized account, each actor represents their country and so instead of individual names like Jean-Pierre Flechette or Jeremiah Blunden we’ll stick to France, USA, etc. And when we come to looking more closely at the USA, we’ll have two characters: MAGA (a mindless bloated oaf with the emotional range of a mentally disturbed toddler) and Dozer (an intellectually enfeebled ditherer who always hopes things will somehow work out alright in the end).

Let us now embark upon our case study.

Act I, scene ii

(We are in a wood-paneled conference room in a chateau somewhere in north-eastern France. Esculent snacks are everywhere, and the participants will shuffle from wonderful breakfasts to elaborate lunches to sumptuous dinners so as to sustain themselves during their arduous discussions.)

France: After focusing entirely on ensuring President Putin would not be humiliated by the unexpected reluctance of Ukrainians to be turned into a slave nation, I eventually realized after Putin lied to me for the fifty-seventh time, that we need to show some measure of resolve.

(Murmurs of agreement from all those assembled)

And so France has sent enough equipment to support a brigade!

(Resentful applause from all the countries that don’t have enough equipment to support even two platoons)

United Kingdom: We are grateful to our French friends for following our lead, even if it was rather a long time in coming…

Germany: We sent helmets. And medical kits. Our citizens are not comfortable with aggressive assistance and we needed to be sensitive to this.



Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.