Jane Galt has exactly the right comment on the announcement that we’re pulling the Security Council Resolution: “Alea jacta est.”
That seems perfectly apposite to me, in two ways.
First, “alea,” a die, gives us the word “aleatoric,” chancy or random. The basic fact about going to war is that you don’t know what happens next.
Second, even once you know what happens next, you still don’t know what the result is going to be.
Caesar must have thought that his die had come up favorably when he was able to return to Rome fairly peacefully and win his election for consul. Five years later, he was dead, and Rome was in the grip of a series of civil wars that lasted fifteen years. And Caesar’s election as consul was the last actual election Rome ever had; the Republic was over.
“If you cross the river Halys,” the oracle told Croesus, king of Lydia, naming the border between Lydia and the Parthian Empire, “you will destroy a mighty empire.” So he did, and the oracle proved correct. Croesus neglected to ask, “Which empire?”
This isn’t a gamble of that size for us, but it’s a gamble nonetheless. Prepare to be surprised.