|2||Kim Jong-un||North Korea||2|
|3||Ali Khamenei||Iran||Not Ranked|
|4||Benjamin Netanyahu||Israel||Not Ranked|
|5||Moon Jae-in||South Korea||3|
|7||Donald Trump||United States||6|
|8||Mohammad bin Salman||Saudi Arabia||8|
|10||Mahathir bin Muhammad||Malaysia||Not Ranked|
1. Xi is inserting himself into the Korean peace process and making himself indespensible. After eliminating term limits earlier in the year, Xi is the most powerful man in China and he's a force on the international stage.
2. Kim engaged in another conciliatory act when he released three American prisoners earlier int he week. He has since suspended peace talks with South Korea and threatened to cancel the summit with Donald Trump over joint South Korean/U.S. military exercises and because of comments spewed by U.S. National Security Advisory John Bolton. Kim is in the driver's seat when it comes to peace/denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.
3. When Donald Trump backed out of the JCPOA aka the Iran Nuclear Deal, he neutered the moderates in Iran and emboldened the hardliners who have always accused America of being distrustful. Ayatollah Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guard were against the deal from the outset and may now be free to build a nuclear weapon.
4. Bibi Netanyahu's presentation on Iran's nuclear lies was widely panned. Not only did he fail to produce new information, but his intended audience- Donald Trump- famously hates powerpoint presentations. Trump did back out of the Iran deal, which was exactly what Netanyahu advocated for, even though it ran counter to America's (and Israel's) interests. Trump also moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, which stripped the U.S. of its role as mediator of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and resulted in the deaths of dozens. It was another win for Netanyahu at America's expense.
5. Moon was on a path to winning the Nobel Peace Prize and going down in history as one of the primary people who created peace in Korea. But the recent joint military exercises with the U.S. has put a hold on Moon's seeming inevitable road to heroism.
6. Russia is a member of the JCPOA for now, but if it dissolves in the wake of Trump's inexplicable pulling out of the deal, Russia may come out ahead. The autocratic leader of Russia allies himself with Syria and Iran and a nuclear Iran would bolster the alliance's clout on the world stage.
7. Trump has the ability to create international crises all on his own: The looming trade war with China, potentially handing Iran the nuclear bomb, soiling good will with North Korea, and losing credibility among the Palestinians. He's aiming to destabilize America's enemies, but he often ends up emboldening them.
8. Trump's nixing of the Iran deal may not have done much for nuclear disarmament, but it made MBS happy. A weird America-Israel-Saudi Arabia axis appears to be forming for some reason. Autocrats are enjoying something of a moment on this list.
9. Macron put a lot of his political capital into convincing Trump to stay in the JCPOA and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. It didn't work. His next step may determine if he can vault back up the list or if he disappears into irrelevancy.
10. Mahathir became the oldest head of state at 92 when his electoral victory thwarted the increasingly autocratic regime of Najib Razak, who ransacked the nation's treasury like a Vladimir Putin wannabe. Mahathir plans to hand over power in a year or two to his former protege-turned-rival-turned-protege again in the feel-good move of the summer,