Barbarians at the Gate, 376
In 376, Fritigern led his downtrodden Thervings to the Danube River, in a desperate drive to escape the advancing Huns. There he was joined by Alatheus and his Greuthungi, and the two Gothic tribes requested asylum from Emperor Valens to settle as refugees in Roman territory. Their numbers cannot be known with precision, but estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000. With Roman armies fighting from Spain to Croatia, Valens was actually pleased at the arrival of the refugees, some 20,000 of whom were already proven soldiers, and allowed Fritigern to cross. For reasons we do not know, the Greuthungi were not granted asylum and remained on the wrong side of the Danube. To be sure, this was not the first time that Rome had accepted refugees in its territory. Valens’ mistake, however, was to part with the custom of breaking up the refugee population into small groups scattered across a vast empire, and to allow Fritigern’s Goths to choose their settlement and remain together.
The traditional method guaranteed both the reduction of any threat by keeping any given population’s numbers low on any particular location, which also facilitated integration — a question that still plagues governments today from Berlin to St. Denis-sur-Seine. However, Valens’ decision to allow the Thervings to settle en masse in Thracia (in the Balkans, modern day Croatia and Serbia), undermined his position by denying him control of the newcomers. Never mind integration.
The rest, as they say, is history. As it so frequently happens in refugee camps even today, the concentration of so many in a small area soon taxed supplies to the limit causing hunger and discontent. The Goths rebelled. The Greuthingi crossed the Danube — damn the Emperor’s permission — to join Fritigern, and the combined forces marched on Scythia (on the border of today’s Romania and Bulgaria), giving the Romans a gigantic black eye in Marcianopole, where the defeated Romans became a source of weapons and armor.
To make a long story short, after years of depredations, riots, massacres and the intervention of Theodosius I, the new Eastern Emperor, the Goths were finally beaten into submission at great cost to the Empire. In 382, four years after the uprising begun, a peace treaty was reached, though the chiefs of the Goths were never heard from again. The victory, however, was not quite what victories used to be. The Goths were allowed to remain inside the Empire as a united, distinct force. This negotiated peace, a sure sign that Rome had ultimately failed to defeat them militarily, created a fifth column within Roman territory that ultimately led to the sacking of Rome by the same Goths, now led by Alaric, only 28 years later in 410.
Barbarians at the Gate, 2017
History repeats itself, and it is not a stretch to state that the uncontrolled admittance of hundreds of thousands of “refugees”, mostly young males in good fighting condition, into Europe and —if some had their way— the US, their settlement in enclaves where integration is made all but impossible, and the logistic difficulties in catering to this restless mass has a worrisome and, indeed, scary resemblance to the arrival of the Goths on the shores of the Danube 1,641 years ago. Seeing the depredations of rioting masses of refugees up the very same river into Hungary, Germany and France is not reassuring either.
While in the West we are distracted by sterile pseudo-theological argumentations and misplaced sympathies, the flow of history is taking us to an uncomfortable and potentially self destructive place. Today’s Goths, just like their predecessors, count on the support of part of our population, the ignorance and apathy of others, and the fact that hunger has always provided a more robust motivation than comfort. While our professors and politicians look for reasons to empathize with the Barbarians, the classic ways of putting down these invasions —by fighting and killing the invaders, of course— seems an ever more unpalatable and remote possibility.
The Bush administration’s attempt to establish a Pax Americana in Mesopotamia as a first step towards regaining control of an already dangerous situation in the Middle East —due mostly to decades of development of National Socialist regimes that created a quintessentially anti-western culture— almost succeeded. Between 2003 and 2009, at a relatively small cost in both treasure and lives, things were beginning to look better. As Vice president Biden crowed in 2009, “I’m very optimistic about—about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration…You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.” And in July of that year, during a visit to Baghdad, expanded: “I sound corny, but I think America gets credit here in the region. And I think everybody gets credit, from George Bush to [President Obama].” That one of the most vociferous detractors of the Iraq war was so brazen in taking credit for the success of a policy he admittedly hated and strongly opposed, is quite telling.
Of course, the next step of the Obama administration, immediately after taking credit for the success of the war they opposed, was to abandon Iraq to its own devices. The debacle that followed in Iraq and Syria over the following years — a direct consequence of the misguided policies of the Obama administration coupled with the pusillanimity of the policies of the European Union — transmuted the historic marches for democracy and regime change from Tunisia to Iran in 2009-2011 into the seemingly unstoppable march of Da’esh (ISIL) and al-Qa’ida and its offspring from Sana’a to Damascus and the gates of Baghdad, turning the Arab Spring into the Arab Hell. In the process, like the Goths at Marcianopole, the weapons left for the defense of Iraq became the property of the advancing Barbarians.
This chaos, in the face of the Obama administration’s inaction and cupidity, has destroyed countries, uprooted millions, and finally yielded a new Gothic invasion on the shores of the Danube. But this time, there is no empire willing to fight them off. Instead, Socialoid leaders in Europe are more worried with protecting their ideology than their countries. By the time they realize their folly, the only recourse will be repressive regimes spurred by chaos on the streets as the new Barbarians fight the locals and put their host countries upside down. Or maybe they won’t realize the danger until they get to witness Rome burning under their feet again. The next four years will be crucial in determining our collective fates.
One cannot deny that the refugee crisis in Europe and the insane —almost suicidal— stance pushed by Germany weighted heavily in the minds of voters that decided Brexit. This crack in the armor of the EU can become a chasm as the peoples around Europe face the consequences of their leaders’ folly. It’s already happening in the US, where the pseudo-intellectual morons who control most media, universities and the Democratic Party are still at a loss to explain the historic backlash unleashed on their socialist programs, not to mention attitudes. As these idiots in campuses and courtrooms make their last stand for nonsense, the push to keep the Barbarians out has already started.
If it fails, I fear there will be no recourse but to prepare for the death of our Open Society. A slow, protracted, ignominiously stupid death.
 Interview with Larry King, CNN, February 11th, 2010.
 USA Today, Biden on Democrats: “Reports of Our Demise Are Premature”, July 6th, 2010.