Newsweek have just published a list of the top ten international leaders who "have managed to win serious respect". Brian Cowen comes in at fifth place and is named "The Fiscal Taskmaster".

According to article, "Go to the Head of the Class", the Irish people have a lot to be thankful for. The author of the short piece, William Underhill said that "Ireland's once -roaring economy" has been "staggered by the banking crisis".

He comments that unemployment is now at 13 percent (it is in fact slightly higher), that emigration is rising and money markets rank Ireland just behind Greece in the list of European losers. However, Underhill focuses on the fact that Prime Minister Brian Cowen and Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan "are prescribing harsh medicine."

He said "They've pushed through austerity packages drastic enough to win the admiration of the international community, raised taxes, and slashed some public salaries by more than 10 percent." But, Underhill comments that "the Irish aren't showing much gratitude".

At last count Cowen's rating with the Irish people was down to just 18 percent and the Fianna Fail party are expected to have a tough race in the 2012 elections.

Underhill seems to think that there will be a positive outcome to the tough love that Cowen has been prescribing. He says "Irish consumer confidence is on the rise again, and the economy notched up modest growth in the first quarter of 2010."

The Newsweek Rankings -

1.The Ambitious Newcomer: David Cameron
2.The Green Guru: Mohamed Nasheed
3.The Loved-Abroad-Hated-At-Home: Nicolas Sarkozy
4.The Man of the People: Wen Jiabao
5.The Fiscal Taskmaster: Brian Cowen
6.The Lion in Winter: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
7.The CEO-in-Charge: Lee Myung-Bak
8.The Rebuilder: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
9.The Reformer: King Abdullah
10.The Middle Man: Lee Hsien Loong
11.The Future King Midas: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj