The US has retained its spot as the most powerful country in the world in 2019 according to an annual ranking, followed closely by some of its closet allies and traditional adversaries.
The US News and World Report rankings look at a country’s political and financial influences, as well as its international and alliances, the strength its military and how it acts as an international leader. The world’s most powerful countries also are the ones that consistently dominate news headlines, preoccupy policymakers and shape global economic patterns. Their foreign policies and military budgets are tracked religiously. When they make a pledge, at least some in the international community trust they will keep it.
The ranking is based on an equally weighted average of scores from five country attributes that related to a country's power: a leader, economically influential, politically influential, strong international alliances and strong military.
The United States, which is perceived to be the most powerful country, has the world’s largest economy and biggest military budget, spending over $610 billion on military hardware and personnel in 2017. The country is a leader in the so-called War on Terror, is by far the largest contributor to NATO and cements alliances by giving out billions of dollars in military aid to nations worldwide. The U.S. spends slightly more than $35 billion in economic aid and nearly $15 billion in military aid in 2017.
Russia and China, the next two countries perceived to be the most powerful, are among the world’s top four military spenders. Following the top three are Germany, the U.K., France and Japan – countries that have large economies and give out high amounts of international aid. Israel and Saudi Arabia, which take the eighth and ninth spots, respectively, spend a higher percentage of their GDP on military spending than the U.S. South Korea moved up one spot and rounds out the top 10. See the rank in detail here.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore remains the most powerful in the region, climbed up four spots in the list over the last year. In 2018, it was ranked the 24th most powerful country in the world and this year, the city-state is in the 20th position, followed by Vietnam at 32nd, and Indonesia at 47th.
The rankings come as part of US News and World Report’s “2019 Best Countries” ranking in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, which surveyed more than 20,000 people on their opinions of 80 countries.