We also have here a lesson in what our leaders like to call the “strength of diversity”. This man, obviously, did not identify as an American, despite being granted permanent residency in this country thanks to a “diversity visa” (an absurd program approved by both Democrats and Republicans). He came to America, lived in America for years, no doubt had a vastly better life than he had had in Uzbekistan, yet he felt he had more in common as a Central Asian Muslim with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria than he had with the American people who surrounded him. This is not new and when it comes to learning from history, if you do not wish to take the trouble of learning the entire history of the world, learning the history of the Roman Empire will generally suffice. Be it brilliant or idiotic, glorious or horrific, honorable or vicious, the Romans did it first and did it to a greater extreme. The Roman Empire, originating in Italy, was mostly an Italian thing for most of its history. The imperium covered many lands and non-Italians could become Roman citizens but it was by and large the Italians who were in charge. They were confident that they could make other people into Romans and in places such as Gaul (France) or Britain, there was reason to think they could.
In 378AD the Roman frontier was permanently breached for the first time when the Goths defeated a Roman army at the Battle of Adrianople, killing Emperor Valens of the East Roman Empire in the process. The result was a peace agreement that allowed the Goths to settle within the borders of the Roman Empire. However, that was to prove not a permanent solution. Then, in 406AD the Rhine River froze over and a flood of barbarians charged across looking for relief in more southerly climates. The Vandals and Visigoths were at the forefront and, again, the Romans would often start by trying to avoid trouble and grant the barbarians lands to settle on within the empire only for trouble to break out later and end with the barbarians going on the rampage. The Visigoths came to dominate much of France and Spain while the Vandals moved all the way down into north Africa. The Goths even sacked the city of Rome itself in 410AD but things settled down and the Romans still managed to convince themselves that things were not so bad and that these barbarians were not all that different from them.
Pushed out of the Far East by the Emperor of China, the Huns found the Roman Emperors to be easier pickings. In the Eastern Empire, Emperor Theodosius II paid them off to keep the peace while he built new and bigger walls around Constantinople. When Roman forces were sent to Sicily in an aborted effort to deal with the Vandals taking over there, the Huns saw their opportunity and seized control of extensive territory in the Balkans before turning west under their formidable leader Attila. They seemed to be invincible and, indeed, were only stopped, not destroyed but stopped at least, at the pivotal Battle of the Catalaunian Plains by a Roman-Gothic coalition led by General Flavius Aetius and King Theodoric I. After that, they invaded Italy and met practically no opposition until finally turning back after a meeting with Pope Leo I. It was only with the death of Attila not long after that the Hunnish empire broke up on its own.
Petronius was succeeded by Emperor Avitus who embodied many of the problems the Roman Empire still faced. He was a Gallic Roman rather than an Italian and was not well received by the public. Emperor Avitus counted on his friendship with King Theodoric II of the Visigoths as the foundation of his reign but, surprise, surprise, the Visigoths were more interested in securing their own domination of Spain than in doing any favors for Avitus in Rome. And, just as Theodoric II chose his tribe over his friendship with Avitus, so too did the Romans choose to rid themselves of their Gallic master and his Gallic officials. Avitus was forced from power and fled to Gaul (France), replaced by Emperor Majorian who mounted a famous, last-minute, effort to restore the Western Roman Empire. He defeated the Vandals who were bedeviling Italy, smashed the Goths in Spain and the Germans in Burgundy. The old, glory days of Rome seemed to be back again as Emperor Majorian put things in order and went back on the offensive and was victorious. However, the Romans proved to be their own worst enemy.
I shall not point out every similarity between the declining years of the Roman Empire and today because they should be obvious and, as such, many others have pointed them out before. That is because it is so striking. I will say though, in defense of even the latter Western Roman Empire, that they were still more rational than our own political leadership in Western Europe and America today. They at least deluded themselves on being able to master a worsening situation by military and political means, playing off one faction against another. Our own elites seem to be in total denial of the actual problem or trusting in slogans like they were magic words to, somehow, solve our problems. The Romans thought their weaknesses could be managed, which they could not, but even they were not so delusional as to believe their weaknesses were strengths.