"Two Steps Forward, One Step Back", is an important lesson I learned from my intermittent stints in leadership positions. To be quick to admit errors of judgment, and to make correction for them. To possess the humility to recognized that mistakes are likely to be made, no matter the preparation or the forethought; dealing as we must with fallible, corruptible human beings, we should accept the good grace to settle for constant progress over absolute perfection. Advancing towards, but humbly never reaching, the false dream of idealist utopia.
And then there's Jacques Chirac.
Through his colossal vanity, he personifies the wrong way to lead: never listen to the common sense of the common man, who has to live with the mess you make of his life. Never connect your future to your past, disregarding the value of experience, and the guidance that the tendencies of national identity can offer the navigating statesman through the shoals of an uncertain future. And worst fault: take shallow pride in what you are, rather than what you've done... or could do.
Congratulations, Jacques: by pretending you can do no wrong, you've done no right... every good intention has produced bad results, leading France to what it is today: un beau gâchis...
a fine mess.