Top 50 Most Powerful Countries in the World

There's a lot more to a country being powerful than a big military.
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Top 50 Most Powerful Countries in the World Newsweek

When ranking the 50 best countries in the world, power defines seven percent of a nation's score, according to U.S. News and World Report.

But how do you define power? Some might say it comes down to a country's army, others might argue its whoever has the largest economy. Like the overall country rankings, these lists need several metrics to register a fair result.

  • Leader: Countries need a strong and decisive leader in control.
  • Economically influential: Money runs the world, it's the best way to get other countries to listen.
  • Politically influential: Having a comfortable U.N. seat can dictate how other countries respect or fear you.
  • Strong international alliances: Safety in numbers.
  • Strong military alliances: If it does come to war, countries need to be ready to fight.

With these five points, U.S. News and World Report was able to quantify the world's 50 most powerful countries—and the top 10 shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

The first three countries all featured in the list are some of the biggest military spenders. No prizes for who is number one on that list—the United States. The next three boast an impressive economy while also significantly contributing to international aid.

The eighth and ninth countries on the list even spend more per capita on military than the United States.

It seems the big key to power, especially for the smaller countries, is to focus on forming strong alliances. 20 of the countries strongest attribute in the power rankings was their relationship with other countries. Even four out of the top six countries had alliances as their highest attribute.

Interestingly, a country's power rarely coincided with their overall ranking. Of the top 20, just three countries had a power ranking that was comparable (within two spaces below and above) to their overall result—Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan.

On the other end of the spectrum, the least powerful country in the world (based on the 80 that were ranked) was Slovenia. Latvia, Uruguay and Costa Rica were not far behind.

50. Myanmar. Overall score: 0.5. Highest attribute: Strong Military. REUTERS/Lynn Bo Bo/Pool