Article by Ilayda Nijhar

The US election outcome on November 8th appears to not have been the only disappointing news for former President Barack Obama. Following the two terms he was in office, a time period spanning from 2009-2017, it is argued that he passed a vast array of successful legislation. Some of his most notable achievements include enacting the health care reform (commonly known as ObamaCare), ending the war in Iraq, exterminating Osama Bin Laden and supporting the recognition of same-sex marriages. Obama’s legacy remains vested in the hearts of many yet much of what he has accomplished is now under threat by the newly elected President, Donald Trump. Trump has made no secret that he wishes to reverse most of Obama’s achievements which has led to anguish in the Obama camp. However, it seems Obama’s new replacement is the least of his worries. Forbes’ ‘Most Influential’ list of 2016 has placed Obama at a disappointing 48th position. The former president dropped 45 positions after holding top spots in previous years. While the numerical placing of Obama may be of little concern to him, the rank of the most influential person may have bothered him – well, just a little.


For the fourth year running, the number one most powerful person in the world has been named as none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite the ongoing political battle between the two world leaders, some may view Putin’s ranking as an unofficial victory. This in stark contrast to Obama who was placed between Haruhiko Kuroda, the head of Japan’s central bank and Khalid Al-Falih, the petroleum minister of Saudi Arabia. His positioning at 48 stands below Kim Jong-Un and Ali Hoseini-Khamenei to name but a few. But what significance does this carry in terms of determining who presently holds the reins of power? The Obama administration had been openly critical of the handling of matters in Moscow by the controlling parties which often led to hostile relations when Obama and Putin were in each other’s presence. The past year saw the pinnacle of Russia’s foreign policy expansion which has surpassed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The US’s failure to gain a firm standing on the Syrian conflict led to Russia having to ensure it was put to an end, displaying their readiness to support their national ambitions through engaging with international issues. Obama’s ruling towards greater NATO activity may provide some insight as to why he failed to even be recognised within the top 10 most powerful people across the globe.


The Forbes list judges each individual on various different factors, but most importantly on the actions they have taken and how much of an impact it has had across the world. Obama, who was often accredited as the leader of the free world, seems to have had less of an impact than that of ex-businessman Trump who was ranked in 2nd position. Perhaps the time of labelling Putin as simply a man with big aspirations who pursues an ‘evil’ agenda may have long passed. While it may be received with a heavy heart on Obama’s behalf, it may reflect the evolving nature of today’s politics. The US’s scope for influence appears to be steadily decreasing within the international arena with numerous failed projects this past year. With a regime change in Washington perhaps the influence both leaders hold may potentially be combined together as a force for good. We can only hope that the ranking of Trump as one below Putin does not lead him starting a new world war simply because he was not awarded the ‘first prize’.

Article by Ilayda Nijhar