Putin is now number one – a sign of Obama’s weak leadership

Since the Cold War, the term ‘The most powerful man in the world’ has always been associated with US Presidents. But now is there a shift in international politics?

It may be looking that way as Barack Obama has suffered a major blow after he lost his top spot on Forbes list of the most powerful people in the world. To make it even worse, he has been replaced with Russian President Vladimir Putin. So why does Mr Putin take the top spot? Well according to the magazine it is ‘because he so frequently shows his strength at home and the global stage’ citing in particular Putin’s actions over Edward Snowdon and his involvement with the Syrian crisis.

While this is just a list in a magazine, it is not good news for President Obama. It is the first time in three years that he has dropped to second place on the Forbes list. He has looked weak during the 16 day US government shutdown caused by a budget and debt crisis in Washington. He has been described as being very analytical but at the same time showing no real leadership. Compare this to President Putin who has dominated Russian politics for the last 12 years and it could become clear why Obama’s reputation on the world stage is deteriorating.

Obama in theory does have more projectable power at his disposal than Mr Putin but it is clear that on many occasions, he has failed to wield it. This was seen in Syria. It was Putin leading the way during the negotiations. Obama on the other hand, spent two years ignoring allies and advisors and when Congress and the American people refused to offer him their support, he was unsure what to do. Putin was always in control, especially when adverting Obama’s threatened missile strikes on Syria with a plan for Damascus to hand over their chemical weapons.

President Putin is of course a very controversial figure. His controversial re-election in March 2012 and his beliefs on gay marriage have sparked debate across the world. But there is no denying that when it comes to power he knows how to wield it. He is seen as a ‘rascal’ and ‘strongman’ and for the last five years, he has been unchecked by the US and he has become much more powerful and influential because of it. With Xi Jinping, General Secretary of China’s Communist Party jumping up to third place, Obama has got to significantly improve his leadership to be regarded as one of the most powerful people in the world.

Ben Callaghan

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