- Russia is the most powerful country after the US.
- Russia is the second most powerful country after the US.
Question: Which one of the above should I use to convey that Russia is second to US in terms of overall power.
Personally, I was inclined to believe that number one is the correct version, because to me it is more logically sound to think of 'after' as 'excluding' or 'following'. However I found more instances of number 2 being used on online forums.
Many thanks in advance.