The struggle has been going on some time, with Bush stretching into a seemingly unassailable lead with the killing of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi last month, following a long list of killed and captured Al-Qaeda "Third-In-Commands".
But Putin has surely pulled back within sight, smiting Chechen separatist and mass-murderer Shamil Basayev, pictured.
You may not recognise him in this picture, but the ways of the terrorist are wily. As would befit a man trained by the KGB, Basayev has changed his appearance through the sly ruse of growing a beard. Readers may be more familiar with the clean-shaven, skinhead psycho look he adopted in days when he was a more high-profile figure:
Basayev, seen here menacing noted actor Pierce Brosnan.
Putin was obviously alarmed by the Chechen guerilla leader's plan to detonate a nuclear warhead on the Bosphorus, making Russian and Middle Eastern oil impossible to transport.
Obviously, this is a triumph for Putin, although it will upset the hermanos derechos no end that Basayev will have felt no pain, due to a bullet lodged in his cerebral cortex.
We can, however, take comfort in the fact that he was probably able to see the uranium-laced nuclear rod as it blasted into his stomach. Thus perish all terrorists who defy the implacable will of Putin!