Global Power Players

NASA/Bloomberg News

Global Power Players

Many of this year's Leaders to Watch, compiled by New York-based geopolitical-risk-analysis consultancy Eurasia Group, face daunting challenges in 2010. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and U.S. President Barack Obama represent the two sides of our No. 1-ranked global risk factor this year (see Top Risks for 2010. British Conservative Party leader David Cameron and European Commissioner Olli Rehn will have two of the hardest jobs in Europe this year: managing the political pressures that attend the latter stages of the economic downturn. And Iran's Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Pakistan's Ashfaq Kayani will be key figures in dangerous political dramas playing out in both countries.

On a more positive note, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan—both in the twilight of their political careers—have opportunities to cement their political legacies. Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan lead two countries that made our list of Red Herrings—or countries whose geopolitical risks are overstated—this year. In large measure, their consolidation of power has brought stability to their respective nations, lowered risk in both countries, and made them 2010 Leaders to Watch.

Click on for an introduction to 10 leaders in hot seats in 2010. On our last slide, find links to the lists from 2008 and 2009.

All text excerpted from Eurasia Group. © 2010 Eurasia Group