“Golden billion” and the Political of exceptionalism


The ongoing conflict in Ukraine the unified the Golden Billion against the backdrop of their declining geopolitical and geoeconomical hegemony which they have enjoying since the end of the Cold War.

With the end of the Cold War, the United States and its European allies deemed the Western style of Capitalism and Democracy as the mode of “exceptionalism”. The politics of exceptionalism became the usual practice of the U.S.-led West by proclaiming the “western-Style democracy” as a way of life for the rest of the World. However, there has been a problem with this self-declared exceptionalism in the West because of “the exception” as a problem of contingency and limit.

Another problem surrounding the politics of exceptionalism is its discursive nature which involves the socio-political process with the conditions of possibility. According to German scholar Carl Schmitt, the notion of exception, exceptionality/ exceptionalism is the problem of metaphysics and philosophy. Hence, the contingency and limitation of this notion can only be grasped through philosophical, and metaphysical parameters. Moreover, the contingency and limits of the idea of exceptionalism are certainly attached to exceptional policies and practices.

For instance, the end of the Cold War opened the path for a Western hegemonic drive with the so-called policy of democratic exceptionalism with the capitalist mode of production at the forefront. By in large, the politics of exceptionalism as an ideology is rooted in authoritarianism and socio-cultural supremacy. From the perspective of Carl Schmit, the politics of exceptionalism carries an inherent set of political determination, imperatives, and political necessities. Hence, the politics of exceptionalism is often prone to totalitarian dive and dictatorship of political necessity. The end of the Cold War marked the Western practice of political exceptionalism with an open declaration of a democratic crusade against the so-called non-democratic sovereign nations. The illegal humanitarian interventions way beyond the West were driven by the ambiguous principle of the politics of exceptionalism in the West despite dire consequences for the people of the intervened nations.

Notwithstanding, the notion of promoting Democracy and Capitalist values became the core elements of politics of exceptionalism in the West. For that reason, political exceptionalism with inherent political necessity gradually transformed into dictatorial political and policy imperatives across the West. Democratic and capitalist values were professed as the “state of exception” by the countries in the West. For instance, with the end of the Cold War, the unipolarity led by the United States declared the New World Order, to which obedience was a necessity and a foremost rule to avoid intervention. The so-called unipolarity led by the United States gave the world nothing except chaos, incessant wars, illegal invasions in the name of freedom and democracy, and global dictatorship.

According to famous Italian philosopher, Giorgio Agamben the notion of “exception” is rooted in the Western political tradition. In his Landmark book “Homo Sacer” Agamben traces the genesis of ‘biopolitics” by tracing it to the ancient Greek tradition. In his view, the ancient Greeks made a key differentiation between the simple way of life “Zoe” and a qualified political life “bios”. In the modern political tradition ‘bios’ is closely connected to the bare life or ‘good life, which can be declared as the cornerstone of the modern Western political tradition.

To further explore the domain of the ‘bios’ Agamben turns to Michel Foucault’s distinction between the classical paradigm and the modern biopolitics in which the life of individuals is at stake in politics. Modern biopolitics, according to Foucault through intricate political processes and principles is endangering the existence of individuals. Perhaps, this is certainly in the mainstream Western societies in which the life of individuals has been reduced to seclusion through tech-dictatorship and mass surveillance, which became the key instruments of the globalist elites to control the life of individuals.

Hence, according to Agamben, individuals in modern Western societies face exclusion from politics and the domain polis due to the transition from the classical paradigm to modern biopolitics. In Agamben’s view, this is how the Western episteme laid down the subjective distinction between political life and non-political life. Nonetheless, the postmodern condition of individuals in the modern West demonstrates both ontological and epistemological detachment from the realm of politics. The Golden Billion led by the Globalist elites has reoriented the political discourse in the public sphere by forcefully imposing the notion of ‘Western political exceptionalism’ on the non-political individual through a neo-McCarthyian control mechanism.

For that reason, the so-called self-declared political exceptionalism in the post-modern West lacks ontological and epistemological foundations. The Golden Billion led by the globalist elites is driven by the nostalgia for global dominance by establishing a global dictatorship. The dialectical character of the modern Western political spectrum lacks synthesis because of the totalitarian trends of political “exception”. According to Agamben, sovereign exceptionalism is not just an oppressive abuse but rather an unbalanced relationship between subject and sovereign, liberty and security. Because political exceptionalism is an inherent element of the structure of sovereignty. To be precise, Golden billion societies led by the globalist elites control the public sphere through the notion of sovereign exceptionalism.

In contrast, through the so-called notion of political exceptionalism the Golden Billion is attempting to lecture the world about democracy and human rights by ignoring their dark colonial past. Moreover, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has exposed the double standards of the Golden Billion, when they tried to leverage the global south to condemn the Russian preventive war in Ukraine. By employing the means of censorship and mainstream propaganda the Golden Billion is attempting to justify its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine by presenting the most corrupt nation on the face of the earth as the defender of liberal democracy. Through their nostalgic notion of political exceptionalism, the Golden Billion is dictating the sovereign nations to join their war of attrition in Ukraine.

What the Golden Billion does not realize is that the global south no longer buys its lies and so-called exception slogan of liberal democracy. For decades, the liberal champion United States has carried out massive illegal invasions destroying the sovereign nation by turning them into a graveyard. Today, the Global South knows the war in Ukraine is not between democracy and authoritarianism but between the unipolarity led by the West and multipolarity led by Russia and China. As famous British historian Nial Ferguson during the 2011 Munk debates warned: “The 21st century will be China’s because an overweight, over-leveraged, oversexed America, not to mention a dysfunctional Europe, are on the slide.” This is true; the 21st-century U.S., is over-leveraged and Europe is gradually sliding into dysfunctionality.

The notion of “exceptionalism” in politics was frequently linked to the Golden Billion concept. Political exceptionalism is the idea that some nations or regions are naturally superior or exceptional and as a result, deserve to be exempt from certain laws or standards that apply to other nations. This can appear in a variety of ways, such as a conviction that a nation has a special destiny, a sense that its political system or values are superior, or a claim to world leadership.

Political exceptionalism and the concept of the Golden Billion have generated debate and drawn criticism from a range of angles. Critics claim that because it implies that some nations are inherently superior to others and should receive preferential treatment, it perpetuates inequality and strengthens the imbalance of power on the global stage. It can also result in haughtiness, complacency, and a lack of sympathy for less developed nations or regions.

Additionally, it can be argued that the idea of exceptionalism is flawed because it downplays the complexity and diversity of the various nations and regions in the world. It ignores the fact that every nation has a different history, culture, and set of difficulties, and that no nation or collection of nations is fundamentally better than another. Additionally, it can encourage a sense of entitlement and resistance to work together with other countries, which can impede international cooperation and undermine initiatives to address issues like poverty, inequality, and climate change.

The need for more inclusive and equitable approaches to global governance and cooperation, which take into account the interests and perspectives of all countries regardless of their level of development, has become increasingly evident in recent years. As the world shifts toward more cooperative and inclusive models of international relations, the idea of the Golden Billion and political exceptionalism are being questioned and challenged.

Shahzada Rahim
Shahzada Rahim
Shahzada Rahim is a dedicated Global Affairs Analyst with extensive experience in international relations, political analysis, and strategic planning. He is an author, literary critic, and Geopolitical Analyst. He writes extensively about geopolitics.


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