I know I have this freakishly bizarre obsession with Vladimir Putin, but I can’t help myself. He’s like this dog I used to have, all bad attitude and hated everyone, but he was so darned cute I couldn’t myself then either.

I remember back in college, I would be sitting at my computer banging away at the keys and the dog would nose his face under my arm to demand attention. If I ignored him, he’d bite my fingers until I rubbed his belly. And that is exactly how I like to think of Vladimir, only instead of biting my fingers he drops a slimy nuclear bomb in my lap. Because even though he’s a naughty, naughty boy, I jusht wuv to grab his smooshy head and moosh him up ’cause he’s my special widdle boy, now aren’t you? Who’s momma’s widdle man? Who’s my widdle man? You are!

I mean, what could be better than having a Vladimir guard your house and person with the pure unadulterated joy of a beloved dog? All warm and cozy, sleeping at your feet in front of the fire. Patient and understanding as you clip his nails, although he has the insatiable urge to snap at you. (I’m drawing the line at picking up his “dookies” after him in the park, I’m not that much of a freak). But then you hear a noise in the kitchen and you pad on in after him to see what mischief is occurring and then it’s all VLADIMIR! Have you given Iran more nuclear material? Bad Vladmir! BAD! BAD! Don’t play cute with me, I’m mad at you! What? I don’t care if you were Time Magazine Man of the Year, who’s gonna clean up this mess? Doooooon’t you try and hide from me, you get back here right now! VLADIMIR!

So it really boils down to a perverted version of puppy love. I praise him when he’s good Who’s a smart puppy who chastised Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? You are! Oh, yes you did! What puppy gets a special ear scwatch for straightening out Bulgaria? Gooooood boooooooy! Yes you are! Yes you are!

…But I have to remember to be consistent with the discipline and swat him on the behind when he’s being bad. No matter how much it grieves me, he’s just too big a dog to not behave, aren’t you, Vladimir? Don’t you deny independence to Kosovo with me, puppy! Baaaaaaad doooooog! You go lie down! Go on! Right now! I SAID LIE DOWN!

And then he slinks off and lies under the coffee table to pout until he decides he’s finished being mad at me. Oh, but I’ll make it up to him. I always do. Maybe I’ll buy him a new chew-toy, maybe something Brown or Bush flavored….

Okay. That’s enough. I’m starting to scare myself.