Though the president of the United States is commonly referred to as the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama dropped to No. 3 this year on the Forbes list of “The World’s Most Powerful People.”
He slipped from second place in last year’s ranking and is now behind both Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Forbes explains why:
Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged as the world’s most powerful person for the third year running. Putin continues to prove he’s one of the few men in the world powerful enough to do what he wants — and get away with it. International sanctions set in place after he seized Crimea and waged war-by-proxy in the Ukraine have kneecapped the Ruble and driven Russia into deepening recession, but haven’t hurt Putin one bit: In June his approval ratings reached an all-time high of 89%. In October, he bombed ISIS forces in Syria and then met face-to-face with President Assad, making the U.S and NATO look weak in the region, and helping rebuild Russian influence abroad.
The second most powerful person in the world also happens to be the most powerful woman: Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, jumps up from #5 last year to take the runner-up spot on the list. Merkel is the backbone of the 28-member European Union, and her decisive actions dealing with the Syrian refugee problem and the Greek credit crisis helped bump her up the list.
U.S. President Barack Obama fell one spot on this year’s list to #3. There’s no doubt that the United States remains the world’s greatest economic, cultural, diplomatic, technological and military power. But as Obama enters the final year of his presidency, it’s clear his influence is shrinking, and it’s a bigger struggle than ever to get things done. At home, his approval ratings are perpetually stuck under 50%; abroad, he’s outshined by Merkel in Europe, and outmaneuvered by Putin in the Middle East.
Other notables on the list were former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at No. 58 and real estate billionaire Donald Trump, ranked at No. 72. The Democratic and Republican frontrunners respectively were the only presidential candidates on the list.
Also, Pope Francis was ranked No. 4, while Chinese President Xi Jinxing was ranked No. 5.
Here’s the full list.