In Forbes list of most powerful people in the world, Obama is No. 2. Who's No. 1?
(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
According to Forbes there's only one man more powerful in the world than President Obama: His Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.
The 67-year-old is "paramount political leader of more people than anyone else on the planet; exercises near dictatorial control over 1.3 billion people, one-fifth of world's population," Forbes said. "Unlike Western counterparts, Hu can divert rivers, build cities, jail dissidents and censor Internet without meddling from pesky bureaucrats, courts."
On China, Forbes wrote:
Recently surpassed Japan to become the world's second-largest economy both in absolute and purchasing power terms. Credible estimates have China poised to overtake U.S. as world's largest economy in 25 years -- although, crucially, not on a per-capita basis. Creditor nation oversees world's largest reserves at $2.65 trillion- - $1.5 trillion of which is in U.S. dollar holdings. Refuses to kowtow to U.S. pressure to change its exchange-rate regime. Heads world's largest army (in size).
Next to that, Forbes' description of Obama and the United States sounds, well, pretty lame:
Obama's Democrats suffered a mighty blow in U.S. midterm elections, with the president decisively losing support of the House of Representatives, and barely holding onto the Senate. It's quite a come-down for last year's most powerful person, who after enacting widespread reforms in his first two years in office will be hard-pressed to implement his agenda in the next two. He can take comfort in the fact that he remains commander-in-chief of world's largest, deadliest military, leader of world's largest (in spending) and most dynamic economy and holds the unofficial title of "Leader of the Free World."
But Obama should be able to take comfort in the fact that three Americans, more than those from any other country, made the top 10.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke was No. 8. Forbes said that while Bernanke's options have waned since the peak of the economic crisis, he still has one powerful tool that can influence global markets: printing money.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was No. 10. He's no longer the planet's richest person, Forbes points out, because he's given nearly $30 billion philanthropically. But his charity is the world's most influential, tackling AIDS, tuberculosis, polio and funds famine-resistant crops to fight hunger.
Ariana Eunjung Cha
| November 4, 2010; 12:06 PM ET
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