In 2014 we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.

(from Euronews)

Does it mean it is not possible for democratic leaders to redrawn borders of countries any more?

I checked in dictionary but still have my doubts what the words "head" and "beyond the days" really mean.


The intended meaning is that it should no longer be possible to redraw borders without the approval of democratic leaders.

The phrase "beyond the days" means that something is in the past, and implies that circumstances today are better than those of the past. It means that what we have today represents progress beyond what we used to have.

To go "over someone's head" means to act without seeking their approval, and implies a lack of respect for the individual's claim to authority. In this context, it means that non-democratic leaders should not attempt to bypass the authority of democratic leaders.


Just to add to Markproxy's answer:

"Go over his head" is a common idiom in English meaning to bypass a person in authority and seek approval from that person's boss. Like if you asked your immediate supervisor for permission to take a vacation, and he said no, and so you want to the department manager (assuming the "department manager" is the "supervisor"s boss) and asked him to overrule the supervisor and give you permission, that would be "going over the supervisor's head".

So going "over the heads of democratic leaders" would be trying to do something that the democratic leaders had rejected by appealing to some higher or more powerful authority. I'd have to read the context to see what that authority is, whether it means international bodies or military force or what.

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