What a fascinating question…
Putin will come in third place here. Russia lacks the potential to overpower the other two, whether it be by military or economic might. Russia has the ability to make conflict unprofitable for the United States and/or China, but it poses no special threat to them. And, given that Russia’s economy is strongly reliant on natural resource exports, it can’t really flex that muscle on anyone.
But what about between Xi and Biden? (Once Biden is sworn in.) The US military, on the other hand, is unbeatable. There’s fighting back, sure, but when you’re up against the Navy, Army, Marines, or those wicked F22s, and so on… You’re going to lose this game. The only question is how much damage can you inflict on the United States. This is not to argue that the United States could conquer China, but with the willpower (more on that later), the United States will win skirmishes, battles, and most military conflicts.
In terms of economics, the United States triumphs. Regardless of the inevitable retorts, Trump was winning the trade war with them. Yes, some industries were suffering, but the government stepped in to assist them out when the economy was booming, so it wasn’t a major issue. China, on the other hand, was in serious trouble, despite the fact that you didn’t hear about it in the slanted news. They rely heavily on us to purchase their exports. Getting a lot of money from exports, like Russia (and Germany, for that matter), makes you vulnerable.
While the United States is subject to supply chain concerns, as the Wuhan flu reminded us, where simpler treatments and raw materials for more advanced medicines all arrived from China (and then didn’t…), this is a problem that can be rapidly resolved.
Then there are the additional aspects to consider. Don’t be deceived; Xi’s position is tenuous at best. If enough of his party wished it, he could be removed in one way or another. But, for the most part, what he says is taken seriously in his homeland. Biden, on the other hand, will lead a country that is bitterly divided. He has a plethora of power keys to gratify. He has to balance his own party, voters who don’t like him, the money interests that placed him in power (don’t be misled, he received 5 times the Wall Street donations than Trump did), and a variety of other factors.
Consider how he is probably certainly compromised by the Chinese as a result of his decades of corruption. Hunter received a large sum of money from the Chinese in the form of unsecured, zero-interest loans. (If someone claims that this never happened, rest certain that it did, albeit in a roundabout fashion.) You have to question why that money would be given to an otherwise unknown person, don’t you?
So it’s a bit of a toss-up for me. Because of the United States’ economic and military superiority, any President of the United States would theoretically have greater power than any Chinese leader at the moment. For four years, Trump has demonstrated this. He didn’t seem to care about the military-industrial complex, and he never followed the establishment’s “this is how things are always done” mentality, and the Chinese were vehemently opposed to anything he did. They had no choice but to wait him out, and we’ll never know if they had the patience to wait another four years.
But, because of our system (and don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning this aspect of it), Trump only had four years in power. He was only ever going to have eight. And, unlike Biden, he was not beholden to other interests (here come the comments…). So, because our Constitution mandates power sharing (which is a good idea), and because corruption is pervasive on so many levels… Is Biden actually more powerful than Xi?
I went into this question thinking it was a bit of a toss-up, but after thinking about it… I believe Xi has the upper hand.
As a result, the global power imbalance is only going to worsen in the near future.