GettyImages-1238684562 MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Welcome to the Jungle

As a paranoid dictator, Vladimir Putin has survived by eliminating anyone who could pose a threat to him. But now that he has triggered the survival instinct of Europe and the broader West, the world is entering a dangerous new phase of existential conflict.

BERLIN – In his 1960 book, Crowds and Power, Elias Cannetti observed that paranoid autocrats who identify as “survivors” will surround themselves with empty space so that they can see any approaching danger. The only dependable subjects are those who will allow themselves to be killed. With each execution that the dictator orders, he accrues “the strength of survival.”