One point missing is that Byzantium was, for the most part, in a constant state of decline. I don't think that America would wish to follow a model that failed. I would rather follow the model of expansion and give up any idea that the borders are fixed. The fixing of the borders is usually the point we look at where the decline of Rome began. The borders I talk of could be real, economic or whatever a nation can do to expand its sphere of influence. Byzantium did little to expand its sphere of influence and allowed itself to be influenced by others through policies of appeasement in a vain attempt to preserve itself. In the end the Eastern Empire was in name only and through a trackable line of emperors. The Constatine idea of Byzantium had died many centuries before.
Belisarius - One of the few who for the most part kept his head down and concentrated on the idea of empire and a return to days of old (and just doing what he was told to do as a good general). Many others would have given up on the retaking of Rome and Italy against such huge odds. His ability on the field rings like J. Caesars or Camillus. All this while Justinian rotted in court giving us nothing but buildings and compiling laws. Like the early consuls of the republic, Belisarius is remembered as a general and a leader, not on a list of failed emperors. Julian - More interesting if he had have lived longer. More hyped up by the likes of Gibbons on the assumption of what may have happened had he ruled for 30 or 40 years. That said his short reign did show signs of a more Latin view of the empire. His distaste for extravagance and tax reforms were quite unlike his immediate predecessors and most of his successors. His paganism leads us to think of republic and days of old, but in the interest of cohesion and stability I think he would have had to rethink some of his ideas had he lived longer.