Over at Business Insider, Ian Bremmer makes the case that Vladimir Putin is probably the most powerful man in the world right now.

Here are his reasons:

  1. Putin is motivated. The Russian President feels disrespected by the global community in general, and the United States in particular. This feeling has fuelled his antagonism as well as his confidence.
  2. Putin is popular. 85% of Russians stand behind Mr. Putin. The President has never had a higher approval rating.
  3. The west lacks the ability to effectively isolate Russia.  Therefore, the sanctions are only amplifying his popularity.
  4. The US has been inconsistent and arrogant in its relationship with Russia. This angered Russians and caused them to rally behind their president.
  5. Putin has consolidated his power in Russia in way not seen anywhere else in the world.
  6. Putin’s Russia does have the ability to hurt the US. And if the current climate deteriorates even further, it is to be assumed that he is willing to use his capabilities, including in cyber, to do just that.
  7. He is deepening his relationship with China. The alliance with the soon to be largest economy in the world further improves his position.
  8. US foreign policy is in decline. America is still number one in terms of global power and capability, but when it comes to formulating a coherent strategy, there isn’t much of one.