Had a look at the Fifth Empire PDF update. Helena I really looks like a military disaster for the Empire in hindsight. Too traumatised by the ToT, she completely fails to balance Gold and Iron, which is what the Fifth Empire is supposed to be all about. So many opportunities to crush their enemies and protect/strengthen allies lost because of her distrust, and she gets civil war and stagnation instead.
I know hindsight is 20/20 but I'll take a martially inclined dyslexic over a feckless monk any day. Imagine how things would have turned out if the Romans invaded the Ottomans while they were weak instead of starting the War of the Rivers.