I was just rewatching Favor the bold, and the scene where Sisko briefs the admirals on his plan to retake DS9 jumped out at me. He says he's confident that the Dominion will choose to oppose his assault on the Bajoran sector, rather than take the opportunity to thrust for some other important target like Earth or Kronos because the wormhole is 'the key to the alpha quadrant'. Now, obviously, in terms of actual fact, his prediction did come true, but apparently for very different reasons: namely because the Dominion had a fleet waiting at the other end of the wormhole and had just figured out a way to disarm the mines. Possibly the dominion focus on the wormhole also had something to do with the previously mentioned (by Damar) shortage of Ketracel White in the alpha quadrant. These are things that, unless I'm mistaken, the Federation doesn't know about at this point. So I'm left wondering if Sisko's tactical judgement was really justified. The Dominion had shipyards and cloning facilities in the alpha quadrant - which suggests that a direct link through the wormhole, though the fastest way to end the war, isn't necessarily vital for them to succeed. Meanwhile, the Alpha Quadrant is only hanging on due to the heavy cooperative resistance from Starfleet and the Klingon Fleet. If a Dominion counterattack ignored the thrust towards Bajor and broke through the 3rd fleet to capture or at least decimate Earth, it could destroy the Federation Government, Starfleet Academy, Starfleet Headquarters, the Spacedock and the Utopia Planitia all at once - a potentially devastating blow for all of Starfleet. When the dust settles, the Federation might have a fleet sitting on the wormhole, but its ability to meaningfully contribute to actively fighting the war may have been almost completely removed. And the Klingon fleet wouldn't hold out long by itself. So doesn't that mean that Earth is just as much a 'key to the alpha quadrant' as the wormhole is?