The fall of Rome was not something one could have easily predicted. Standards of living in Rome far exceeded anything that could be found in its neighbours. Roman army barracks on the borders had piped running water, fountains, baths with underfloor heating. Slavery had been ended. All Romans were citizens. And yet the Romans were no longer able to repulse invasions and their armies had become reliant on non-Roman troops and ineffective.
The Ancient Egyptian pharaonic kingdoms were undefeated for even longer than the Romans: some 2,000 years. However it would appear that sometime in around 1600 BCE a group of tribes, possibly from Canaan successfully and unexpectedly conquered Egypt.
Western Europe is far more vulnerable than would appear from pure economic data. While it dominates the global economy and exercises massive influence everywhere, Western Europe has systematically neglected its military and simply relies on the USA to protect it from the outside.
To make this point, I have taken the four largest military powers in Western Europe and compared them to four large Arab states (all Sunni except Syria which has a Sunni majority), using data from the globalfirepower website.
I have not included Iran which is not Arab but has massive military power. Were Syria and Iraq to be combined they would be a formidable power and there are no European countries (except Russia) which can rival these countries in military terms. Turkey is arguably more powerful than any of the countries listed below but is Islamic and in NATO, so in a sense it keeps the balance of power.
For comparison purposes I have added Israel, which is almost as strong as Turkey (not in active military forces).
What you can see is that on land the balance is clearly shifting in favour of the Arabs.
|Germany||France||Britain||Italy||Europe 4||Israel||Arab 4||Algeria||Egypt||Syria||Saudi Arabia|
|Soldiers (active) in thousands||180||202||146||320||848||160||1391||512||468||178||233|
|Soldiers (reserve) in thousands||180||195||82||42||499||630||1795||400||800||570||25|
What is missing in this chart is nuclear power which is a potential game breaker and economic power, with its implied military potential where Europe is more powerful than anyone.
Even so, it does show just how limited European military power is and that, if this trend continues, Europe could become vulnerable particularly if it loses its USA backing and its (possibly quite small) nuclear option is neutralized in some way.
If you think Europe can easily power-up then bear in mind that it takes a lot of time to train military personnel - especially commanders - and that the skills and know-how associated with warfare are gradually being lost.