If the west left the far east alone in the 1800’s and not practice gunboat trade policy and opium trade, Qing Dynasty of China would not have fallen and its leaders disgraced amongst the Chinese to they point the want to modernize as fast as possible to meet the Western threats. Chinese modernity would not involve Chinese reformers tinkering with facism and communism. With Qing weaken and Japan forced to open to trade, Japan would not have modernized and forcibly colonize Korea (who no longer can be protected by Qing China). Western greed and bullying would not have unhinged the far east nations who may be backwards but wanted to be left alone. Consequences is China became Communist, Japan became militaristic till end of WW2, Korea is divided with Communist holding the north and now desperate to survive pursue nukes and nuclear blackmail. If the West had followed the philosophy of our founding fathers (trade not empire building) and Christian values (not Darwinism which argues it is natural for the strong to bully the weak, and draw generalities of which race is weak and inferior to whites) many of the problems we face today may not occur.
Could, shoulda, woulda. The proposition that if our predecessors had made better decisions without benefit of the historical hindsight we have is specious.
If only they had thought of the future instead of the now.
And what does that say about the current powers that be, spending future generations into debt slavery to buy votes today?
Every generation inherits a mess from the previous generations and leaves one for the next. Welcome to life on Planet Earth.