Being a student of history definitely has its downside. The parallels I'm seeing are truly terrifying.
Here are three civilizations that met brutal ends. We've managed to follow all three of their tragic examples simultaneously.
Sparta built up a huge military presence. So long as it concentrated on sabre rattling it was perceived as unbeatable-- and it thrived. It was finally seduced into actually fighting a major war. It lost and Athens became the sole super-power in Attica.
Athens overreached in the Syracuse wars [unprovoked invasions designed to bring treasure home] and Rome filled the void it left behind.
Rome never met a war it didn't like, eventually over-taxing its citizens to pay for them and over-stretching its troops. The Vandals, the Gauls and, finally, the Franks took over.
Who will fill the void we leave in our wake?