The inflammatory effect of bombing Iran should occupy the attention of strategists bent on moving forward with one or more strikes.
These are Iran's options for responding:
1. No response.
2. Diplomatic protests.
3. A formal declaration of war.
The first option is so unrealistic that it seems not worth noting. However, considering frequent statements in the popular media one would think impunity is the stuff of fiction. Ignorance is reckless and thus dangerous.
A strike on Iran by Israel or the West would likely unify disparate elements in Iran and weaken reformists. Bombing Iran would therefore have an effect opposite the desired long-term outcome.
PREDICTING THE UNKNOWN
The most dangerous scenario is an escalation that spreads throughout the regions and beyond, resulting in a world war for the third time.
A crisis in the Gulf would create opportune conditions for a crisis elsewhere, such as the Korean Peninsula, by stretching thin the resources of the United States military.
What measures could be taken to alleviate the crisis in the Gulf?
1. Ease economic sanctions.
2. Ease and ignore rhetoric.
3. Divorce politics from diplomacy.
4. Institute secret negotiations.
5. Adopt realistic expectations. Israel possesses nuclear weapons while insisting other nations of the Middle East should not. Israel should agree to its part in a nuclear-free Middle East.
6. Promote democratic values and reform in the region.
6. Prepare for the worst case.
Unlimited power in a finite world is a mad dream. Reactionary politics is likewise psychotic. Israel must reduce its fantasy of fear and learn to adapt to an open-society compact with its neighbors.
History is largely what you make it if you are determined to point your accusing finger at yourself.