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In Forbes list of most powerful people in the world, Obama is No. 2. Who's No. 1?

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

obamahu.JPG

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(SEE PHOTOS: 2010 Forbes Most Powerful: Which world leaders have clout)

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.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | November 4, 2010; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  China  
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Comments

Power does not equate to democratic leadership. It would be best if Forbes stopped defining absolute dictators who happen to wear suits and ties as Powerful Leaders. If they aren't voted in then they shouls not count as ppwerful people.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 4, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Power does not equate to democratic leadership. It would be best if Forbes stopped defining absolute dictators who happen to wear suits and ties as Powerful Leaders. If they aren't voted in then they shouls not count as ppwerful people.

Posted by: Anonymous
----------------------------
That makes no sense. No matter how a head of state got to power he is still powerful. Do you honestly think China's head of state, Hu Jintao is not powerful? He is in control of the 2nd biggest economy in the world and a nation that basically owns America. How is that not powerful?

Posted by: 6thsense79 | November 4, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Good idea, anonymous. Let's just overlook dictators and pretend they don't exist.

Posted by: dcc1968 | November 4, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Power comes from people - Karl Marx
Power comes from the barrel of a gun - Mao
Power comes from people's obedience to your wishes - My Father

Personally, I define power as the ability to do things or not to do things (a variation on the physics definition). Make up your own mind about the definition of power before you agree to give it away to people selected by others for the Forbes list or anyone else's list - you get to choose who is powerful by the very nature of your definition...;-).

Posted by: Anonymous | November 4, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Power isn't unlike the supreme court justice's depiction of pornograhy, "I know it when I see it". Based on that gauge the posts to this artcle are by clueless, powerless sheeple.

Posted by: craigslsst | November 4, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Power comes from people - Karl Marx
Power comes from the barrel of a gun - Mao
Power comes from people's obedience to your wishes - My Father

Personally, I define power as the ability to do things or not to do things (a variation on the physics definition). Make up your own mind about the definition of power before you agree to give it away to people selected by others for the Forbes list or anyone else's list - you get to choose who is powerful by the very nature of your definition...;-).

Posted by: Anonymous
-------------------------
Whatever. So you're saying power is whatever anyone says it is. Kind of hard to have a discussion when you 6 billion people giving their own definition of 1 word. Besides even if we use your thought process this is Forbes list of the most powerful people not 'Anonymous' list. Don't be upset because a majority of people recognize and agree with the list. Most people will go with the classic common dictionary definition of power as listed below.

1. ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.
2. political or national strength: the balance of power in Europe.
3. great or marked ability to do or act; strength; might; force.
4. the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy: power over men's minds.
5. political ascendancy or control in the government of a country, state, etc.: They attained power by overthrowing the legal government.
6. legal ability, capacity, or authority: the power of attorney.
7. delegated authority; authority granted to a person or persons in a particular office or capacity: the powers of the president.
8. a document or written statement conferring legal authority.
9. a person or thing that possesses or exercises authority or influence.
10. a state or nation having international authority or influence: The great powers held an international conference.
11. a military or naval force: The spanish Armada was a mighty power.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | November 4, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@6thsense79

Then, which of the 11 definitions is Forbes following? Some, one, all?

There is no doubt that people on Forbes' top 10 list has power of completely different magnitude compared to most of us. However, determining who is #7, #8, #9, #10, etc. is definitely subjective.

Still, the sad truth is that U.S. owes more and more to China and that the Chinese head of state may have more influence on the world than Obama, who will probably squirm beneath a Republican House of Reps for next 2 years.

Posted by: Aqua3993 | November 4, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@6thsense79

Then, which of the 11 definitions is Forbes following? Some, one, all? I personally don't believe that copy-pasting from a dictionary make a valid argument.

There is no doubt that people on Forbes' top 10 list has power of completely different magnitude compared to most of us. However, determining who is #7, #8, #9, #10, etc. is definitely subjective.

Still, the sad truth is that U.S. owes more and more to China and that the Chinese head of state may have more influence on the world than Obama, who will probably squirm beneath a Republican House of Reps for next 2 years.

Posted by: Aqua3993 | November 4, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

power is money....person with most money has the most power...if u think about it money is everything don't let anyone else tell you otherwise

Posted by: Anonymous | November 4, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

MY RECOMENDATION : powerfull men should be divided in two category : 1) positive power men and 2) negative power men : north korean cruel dictator 31th,UN Secretary general Ban Ki Moon 41th: Hu Jin Tao 1th,the great pape benedict xvi 5th
How you mixed worldwide leaders such a the great pope benedict,Bill Gate and worldwide Gangsters or the worst dictarors who destroy world peace ? is it logical ? i think that Washing ton Post and Forbes are intellectual powerful news papers in The best democratic country in the world.

Posted by: chungdongil | November 4, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Is there anybody more evil than Forbes or other western public media, by dusting the eyes, fabricating misunderstanding of people. Please tell the whole story!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 5, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

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