British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says the democratic process of Western governments is “cumbersome” and presents a roadblock in the fight against the Islamic State and Russia.
He characterized democracy as “militarily inefficient” and said ISIS will not be defeated in Syria unless the government can act unilaterally.
Hammond criticized societal “buy-ins” required in the decision making process and lamented the inability of government to confront enemies without first seeking public consensus.
“We need to get buy-in for any action from a wide range of actors —buy-in from the media, buy-in from parliament and buy-in from the public,” he said.
Hammond cited the former Soviet Union as an example of an effective decision making process.
“We have to think about how we respond to an adversary in which all decision making power is concentrated in the hands of one man. I have heard it said that it is more concentrated even than under Leonid Brezhnev, when at least there was a Politburo,” he said.
The remarks came after Britain’s previous coalition government lost a vote to intervene militarily in Syria. The defeat prevented Prime Minister David Cameron from invading Syria to take out the government of Bashar al-Assad.
The British government, however, decided to secretly embed military personnel with US forces conducting an air campaign against ISIS in Syria without parliamentary consent.
On Tuesday Defense Select Committee Chair Julian Lewis said the move violated the trust of parliament and the British people.
“It is crucial that in these important and sensitive matters the confidence and trust of this parliament is maintained as well as that of the British people,” Lewis said.
“The government has acted in a way that puts that trust and confidence at risk.”