Both Barack Obama and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have characterized any Israeli attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program as a short-term affair. An Israeli raid “wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives,” Dempsey said on CNN – and he is surely right. But Israel also has a short-term objective – and that is to play for time. Israel notes that its 1981 bombing of a nuclear reactor in Iraq set back Saddam Hussein’s program. Something similar happened with the 2007 bombing of a Syrian installation. Neither operation was conceived as a long-term solution, but both accomplished short-term goals. In a year or two, much could change in the Middle East. (Richard Cohen – Washington Post)