The world’s most powerful politicians and most able people to shape the future are Pope Francis, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and Marine Le Pen. Their ability to shape the future, their effective political power, their networks and their international fame were our analysis’ four main criteria.
Cyceon shares and analyzes data provided by correspondents around the world, mainly experienced individuals involved in the active life of their respective countries. Thanks to the diversity of their opinions, Cyceon commits itself to being the most objective and remains strictly non-political. In addition to the data that’s been collected with their cooperation, there has been a human and computerized monitoring of most significant developments in the international strategic, economic and financial environment.
Cyceon doesn’t seek to convince anyone of anything. It is working from the facts and lets you free of building your own interpretation. That’s why Cyceon thinks it is relevant to publish the following list of who it considers to be the world’s most powerful politicians and most able people to shape the future in the short term (several months) and the medium term (several years). Unlike the mainstream media, this list stems from work done through analysis, and not through journalism.
Consequently, such work can’t be compared with what you may usually read since how it’s been realized largely differs. Also, the geopolitical, economic and cultural importance of the countries these people belong to has been taken into account. Given that it is extremely difficult to establish this kind of list, it’s up to you to assess its scope and relevance. The power of the following people is based on four main criteria:
- Ability to shape the future
- Effective political power
- The networks
- International fame
These criteria are listed from the most important to the least. The ability to shape the future is central.
The list and why
1 – His Holiness Pope Francis
The current chief of the Roman Catholic Church is not just the Pope. Francis is also a revolutionary meaning that filled with both progressive and very Christian beliefs he’s working at revitalizing Christianity and reminding the human kind of its responsibilities before himself and the Eternal. The Holy See institutions’ reform remains a tricky path and the international challenges have never been so grave for a very long time. However, Francis has showed so far great mastery in “soft power” and political courage his faithful have waited for very long when he denounces the “complicit silence” about the killing of Christians, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. From Francis’ action depends the fate of millions of innocent unarmed people, not all Christians and trapped between religious extremism and the democracies’ indifference. Francis is facing two main challenges: mobilizing the international community, particularly the West, in order to prevent the definitive genocide of Eastern Christians; and mobilizing the deeply shocked and distressed world’s Christian community. Pope Francis is currently the only one whose message reaches far enough to save Christianity and the world from the awful consequences a world war of civilizations would cause. To this end, Francis will have to strengthen the Holy See’s diplomatic capacities and give concrete and operational meaning to an increased mobilization of the Christians throughout the world. Francis should also care more about his own safety because of serious terrorist threats. Western intelligence services have to deploy additional means in order to address such threats: it is also in the deep interests of the countries they protect.
- Ability to shape the future: 88%
- Effective political power: 47%
- The networks: 74%
- International fame: 91%
2 – China’s President Xi Jinping
China’s economic growth is slowing down but remains very high with 7 percent forecast for 2015. There’s no slowdown however about China’s power as a whole. Now the world’s largest economic power, China is progressively building up her diplomatic and military arsenal. President Xi Jinping quickly established himself as the undisputed leader at home with a vast anti-corruption campaign that may put him at odds if it didn’t apply as strongly in the case of his partisans. Despite ongoing difficulties on security issues, military- as cyber-related, Xi managed to build strong ties with his US counterpart Barack Obama, this way strengthening the Sino-American financial and monetary condominium. In the meantime, Xi deepened the strategic partnership with Russia, extended China’s military presence in the China Sea and succeeded in the blitz building of the AIIB under the noses of the very destabilized USA. The ongoing issue of human rights, the lack of fame within foreign public opinions and growing fears from Asian neighbors somewhat limits President Xi’s power.
- Ability to shape the future: 75%
- Effective political power: 64%
- The networks: 68%
- International fame: 49%
3 – Russian President Vladimir Putin
The simultaneous fall in ruble and oil prices, sanctions over Ukraine conflict, have hit the Russian economy very hard. Inflation has risen significantly and foreign currency reserves have much decreased. Yet, President Vladimir Putin remains very popular at home, enjoying around 80 percent of positive opinion and his effective political power is still huge. Strong with his national base, Putin reached his goals abroad. His Syrian ally Bashar Al-Assad is still President, of a country in ruins indeed, but voices from Europe asked for the reestablishment of dialogue with Assad in order to combat the terrorist offensive that’s propagating across the Middle East. In Ukraine, the Minsk accord gave Germany and France back Europe’s natural direction of the negotiations, a solution that Putin always privileged to the detriment of the USA. On the ground, the status quo doesn’t cost Russia much and as time goes reinforces Russia’s control over Crimea. A bit of hot, a bit of cold, and so on. From such facts one can say Putin is currently the most powerful people in the world when it comes to foreign policy. By concentrating his efforts on specific points and strictly following plans balanced long in advance, Putin is the main driver on all the roads he’s traveling. One must state that Putin also benefits from Europe’s inability to organize herself. Conversely, Putin suffers from a mainly negative international reputation and will have to redouble his efforts in order to restore international investors’ confidence in the Russian economy.
- Ability to shape the future: 71%
- Effective political power: 78%
- The networks: 55%
- International fame: 79%
4 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Her rigor and commitment didn’t not prevent Chancellor Angela Merkel from being not only much liked in her country but also very respected abroad where her credibility is certainly the highest among all of her foreign counterparts. Her policies’ stability, coherence and equanimity made her the master of the European Union’s economic and financial future. Syriza’s Greece can pretend to threaten the whole edifice, Merkel stays on her feet but remains supple enough like a highly trained political ninja that some violent loots will not stop cross an area less well-frequented than Willy-Brand strasse. That also applies to her Russian and judoka counterpart Vladimir Putin with whom her strong ties and a common usage of the German language do participate in her diplomatic effectiveness. Merkel’s involvement in Ukraine along with French President François Hollande avoided that the conflict in Ukraine turned into an open war. On every European issue, Merkel is simply decisive and nothing can be done without her. However Merkel lacks some popularity among the European and foreign public opinions that limits her influence abroad. Also her bias for economic austerity still draws her some hostility on the part of southern Europe whose support she needs in order to improve the prospects of the European Union’s future. In short, Merkel is strict but one’s happy to have her on his/her side when things are getting heated.
- Ability to shape the future: 64%
- Effective political power: 78%
- The networks: 64%
- International fame: 71%
5 – Front National’s President Marine Le Pen
Media may repeatedly depict her as « racist », « dangerous » and even « fascist »; she is their everyday obsession, her aura’s growing and her influence as well. The one whose an increasing number of French people see as the new “Joan of Arc” who will save France from perilous decline has not only become the leader of the most and fast-growing political party in France but also of a larger, lateral and transnational opinion movement that worries about issues that concern both France and Europe: economic austerity, mass unemployment, insecurity, terrorism, and unregulated immigration. An outcast from the media and the political circles in general, yet Le Pen managed to establish herself as the center-point that installed the tri-polarization of French politics. Le Pen’s future could even become brighter than the French political elite ever had nightmares about after the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal wrote about her in January 2015, a fact among others that concretized a bit more the idea that even from Washington’s viewpoint, Le Pen as France’s President is not something unimaginable anymore. Le Pen’s strength is also the youth who seems more sensible to her ideas than the previous generation. Almost one out of two 18-to-34 year-old French who votes, does vote for Le Pen. What was still unthinkable a few years ago may become true and the quick-rising popularity of her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is there to confirm the trend. To have any real chance of coming to power, Marine Le Pen will have to garner votes from beyond the Front National particularly on the right wing where many still doubt about her economic program and the exit from the euro. Le Pen would also dramatically strengthen her international status – her main weak point – if she didn’t maintain most – or all – of her foreign policy focus on building an alliance with Russia. Nobody can afford the luxury of treating Berlin, Beijing and Washington as peripheral players.
- Ability to shape the future: 61%
- Effective political power: 69%
- The networks: 38%
- International fame: 33%
And the 6th most powerful people would be:
US President Barack Obama is ending his second term and should be on the podium. But without a Democrat majority at the US Congress and having been too hesitant abroad, Obama has lost the effective political power and the ability to shape the future he needed to be named in the top 5. Hillary Clinton and Nicolas Sarkozy are the two people most likely to be named in the top 5 in the next 12 months.
Cyceon insists that the presence of any name on this list doesn’t not constitute neither a political opinion nor any support of any kind. This is from objective facts and data that Cyceon prepared this list where one can find people whose actions and opinions sometimes completely differ.