- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

President Obama is ranked third in Forbes magazine’s “World’s Most Powerful People” list this year, behind Russian president Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

It’s the first time a sitting U.S. president hasn’t ranked No. 1 or 2 in the annual survey and the third time in a row that Mr. Putin has ranked first, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“There’s no doubt that the United States remains the world’s greatest economic, cultural, diplomatic, technological and military power,” Forbes writes. “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.”

To compile the list, a panel of Forbes editors ranked all candidates in four dimensions of power, and those individual rankings were averaged into a composite score.

“First, we asked whether the candidate has power over lots of people,” Forbes writes. “Next we assessed the financial resources controlled by each person. Are they relatively large compared to their peers?

“Then we determined if the candidate is powerful in multiple spheres,” it explains. “Lastly, we made sure that the candidates actively used their power.”

Mr. Putin is considered the world’s most powerful person because he “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,” Forbes claims. “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 [Islamic State] 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.”

And for Ms. Merkel, who jumped to the No. 2 spot from No. 5 last year, Forbes says she 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.”

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump also made this year’s list for the first time at No. 72.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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