The americans wanted to keep Germany strong as part of their plan to stop communism spreading.
The monarchies installed an ally in France as part of ensuring monarchy will remain stable in Europe and its colonies. This was no idle talk - they put behind it the muscle to hold it for a century.
Napoleon/Rommel worship had nothing to do with this. Nada. Zilch. Nor 'for sport' or 'just to annoy x or y'.
During/after the big wars in Europe, the victors had pragmatic reasons for keeping a defeated foe strong.
And none of these even approached the cardboard idiocy of 'for sport' or 'just to annoy someone'.
Gowron's bravado in 'way of the warrior' was facade - or rather, an instrument to awaken nationalistic feeling, often used by human dictators, as well; Gowron wanted to use the tried and tested conquest (to return to the old ways) for amassing new strength (in resources, political from the houses enriched with the new gains, etc).
After the conquest, klingon convoys - civilian/commercial - were travelling throughout cardassian occupied space.
And the klingons were quite into keeping the cardassians in line and into keeping federation influence out of the zone (arguably, even more zealous than necessary) - the opposite of making the conquered cardassians strong, 'for sport'.
You could, of course, maintain your interpretation - the price (besides an overcomplicated explanation to fit it with canon facts), as said, is to make the klingons cardboard fools, and to make the building of the klingon empire a gigantic miracle.
As for the romulans - they just had a war with cardassians; and now occupy cardassian territory.
And they're really paranoid; they are supposed to underestimate, as opposed to overestimate the danger from racist, 'manifest destiny' cardassians?
Not that you need to be paranoid in order to see the necessity of keeping the conquered - by you - cardassians in line.
You need to be a cardboard idiot not to see it, as an empire.
And since the actual sides in the conflict would be the strong victors, the rise of Cardassia would be largely irrelevant in the threat sense - it would be merely a means for the true players in achieving their goals in this conflict.
Cardassian territory/etc IS the 'true goals'.
Spoils of war.
Keeping it under control will NOT be ignored. As already said, the opposite is likely; the winners will quarrel to keep it under TIGHTER control.