Putin humiliates Obama, named world's top leader

The US economy is almost 8 times bigger than Russia's, the US spends $682 billion on defence to Russia's $91 billion. So what kind of a loser can Barack Obama be to have been eclipsed by Putin?

Who has the upper hand?
the commentator
On 31 October 2013 08:23

Barack Obama has just redefined the word "loser" in international politics. He's been beaten into second place by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Forbes survey of the world's most powerful leaders.

When you consider how much more power the American president can wield than his Russian counterpart, that's a spectacularly sad statement on Obama's performance on the global stage. By way of illustration, consider the relative sizes of the two countries' overall economies and their defence budgets.

The United States leads the world on both counts: its gross domestic product stands at $16.2 trillion compared to Russia's $2.2 trillion ($200 billion smaller than Britain's economy); America's defence budget is $682 billion, while Russia's stands at $91 billion.

That's not David and Goliath; it's David with two broken arms and no slingshot versus a platoon of Goliaths.

How could Putin have taken the top spot? Expounding on his magazine's survey, Steve Forbes's explanation is unimprovable:

"..Barack Obama is weak internationally by choice," he says. "[He] is the weakest President of the post-World War II years. Even the in-over-his-head Jimmy Carter was more of a factor in foreign affairs than Barack Obama.

"Diplomats are still astonished, for instance, at how little prep work Obama engages in before international conferences. He doesn’t arrive with much of an agenda, nor does he interact with other leaders in advance to line up support. He more or less just shows up."

Behind all this, Forbes reminds us, is a very particular world view:

"This is deliberate. The President truly believes the U.S. has been a malignant force in the world and therefore wants to reduce our footprint on the world stage..."

Forbes has got this absolutely right. Remember how the US stood idly by as Iranian revolutionaries were butchered on the streets of Tehran in 2009? Remember how Obama quickly pulled back from the Libya operation? Remember how he had rings run around him by Russia over Syria?

Obama isn't taken seriously because he just isn't serious. He's shallow, he's glib, and he's weak. And every dictator in the world knows it, Vladimir Putin included.

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