The much reviled scramble for Africa started in the late 19th century. In less than a century all those nasty racist colonial outposts were gone. Whatever positive influence these imperial enterprises could have had evidently didn’t take — not enough time. To put it perspective it took the Romans 400 years to convert the tattooed headhunting Gauls into proto-Frenchmen. If Claudius had withdrawn the legions from Britannia rather than complete the conquest of what was to become England, what would have been the fate of Europe? What if Caesar had submitted to the Senate, and his illegal annexation of Gaul had been repudiated. Would we now think of French cuisine as just minor variations on roast pork?
European civilization – and ours by extension – is owed more than any other thing to Roman Imperialism. At first the Celts, Gauls and Germans resented Roman dominance, but when that dominating power was removed they longed for its return for centuries, even as late as the dawn of the 19th century French republicanism and its Napoleonic successor looked to Rome as its model.