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– For you as a political analyst, what is the value added of such surveys? What do they tell you that you don't already know?
– Most political analysis takes a narrow view. It deconstructs ideas and trends that are relevant within individual countries or regions. It respond to shifts in the current conventional wisdom and the headlines of the moment. Surveys can let you look to the broader picture and a longer time horizon. Sometimes, it’s easier to see things clearly from a distance.
As for this survey, we’re all interested in power and how it’s organized. I was hoping to make a point about how state power and individual power are very different things. The president of the United States is an important and influential person but his power is limited by political rivals with constitutional responsibilities and prerogatives and by the institutions of governance. In China, the days of personality politics are finished. The country is now run by committee and the lowest common denominator consensus it produces. The committee now has seven members rather than nine, but it’s still a committee. And this committee doesn’t like individual attention for its members. Like disgraced former party official Bo Xilai, the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
– Which surveys/polls of this kind do you regard as the most influential in the US and internationally? Which do you personally follow?
– The World Economic Forum competitiveness index is well constructed and provides an important signpost. The PwC survey of global corporate CEOs on risks and investment is informative. I would add that these sorts of surveys, some more serious than others, are a familiar feature of the American mainstream media, and they’re often a useful way of measuring how times and values are changing.
– You surveyed your own Eurasia Group. Doesn't this create a potential echo chamber effect, reinforcing pre-existing groupthink? If not, why not?
– My first impulse was to write a power list that expressed my own views. But I follow some countries and stories much more closely than others, and Eurasia Group is blessed to have a large (and growing) number of thoughtful analysts from all over the world, folks who regularly teach me things I didn’t know. It’s a very diverse group, and there are plenty of disagreements among our analysts about these broad global questions. It would be interesting to see how 1,000 people might respond to this question rather than the 150 I surveyed, but we’re not a think tank. We’re analysts who earn a living by keeping our clients informed and by being right rather than merely provocative, so I take the results of this survey seriously.
– In the sequence Nobody–Putin–Bernanke–Merkel–Obama–...–Xi what surprises you the most?
– I was surprised that Christine Lagarde earned such a prominent spot. She’s a compelling and forceful advocate for the IMF, but her organization is focused to such a large extent on Europe at the moment, that I’m surprised that so many of our non-European analysts would rate her power that highly. My personal list did not include her, but instead featured leaders like Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff.
On the other hand, I’m not at all surprised that President Putin occupies the top spot following “nobody,” above all other leaders (including Barack Obama). There are other individuals who wield extraordinary power within their countries, but none in a country with Russia’s size or regional political and economic prominence.
The simple way of comparing Putin and Obama is to point out that Russia won’t have a month of legislative drama over the Duma’s fiscal policy negotiations. Whether that’s ultimately a good thing for Russia is, of course, quite another matter.
Eurasia Group is a global political risk consultancy. Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of Eurasia Group. He is a frequent writer and commentator in the media.
Ian Bremmer has made a list of ratings of persons who determine ways for the development of the present-day world.
He decided to leave the rating list's first line blank, for the enormity of geopolitical and economic problems is so great that no one person can manage them single-handedly.
The Russian President was placed second in the list of ratings of politicians, business people, and public figures.
Further down the list are as follows:
Ben Bernanke, head of the US Federal Reserve System, German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Barack Obama, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Ayatollah Khamenei, spirtiual leader of Iran, Christine Lagardr, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
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