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 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.
Here are the most powerful countries on earth, according to this year’s rankings.
Greg Sandoval/Business Insider
Belgium was not ranked in the world’s 80 most powerful countries in 2018, but it was ranked 25th in 2019. The small, highly developed country is one of the six EU founding nations, and hosts international organizations like NATO and the European Council.
AP Photo/Saurabh Das
Qatar is rich in oil and gas, making it one of the world’s richest countries. Education and healthcare are free, and the country is scheduled to host the 2022 World Cup, though it has been criticized for its treatment of migrant workers.
Four of Qartar’s neigbors have put an economic embargo on Qatar and boycotted its imports since 2017. But Qatar says that the blockade has actually boosted its economy as it entered new markets instead.
Qatar was ranked 20th in 2018, four places higher than in 2019.
Spain recovered from the financial crisis though its resilient export market and a European Union-funded restructuring effort, US News noted.
Spain has a large cultural influence through its achievements in arts and dance, though growing separatist movements in the Basque region and Catalonia threaten its unity.
- Indian fighter pilot returned by Pakistan after wild ordeal where he was shot down over enemy territory and reportedly ate sensitive documents to keep them secret
- Pakistan offers to de-escalate conflict with India that teetered on the brink of war by returning pilot who was filmed blindfolded after capture
- The White House was confident enough of a deal with Kim to schedule a signing ceremony, but had to abandon it when talks collapsed