Where Netanyahu's Speech Has Already Succeeded

March 3, 2015 2:13 PM

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Even before Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress at 11:00 am ET, we can tell you where it has already succeeded and where it has already failed. The success: With the build-up and controversy surrounding the speech, Netanyahu has ensured that security and Iran are his closing arguments in his election that's two weeks from now. Those are the issues that are in his and his party's (Likud) wheelhouse. The failure: Netanyahu's address to Congress hasn't had an impact on the nuclear deal the United States is trying to strike with Iran. Indeed, the administration had a real concern that Congress would pass additional sanctions that could thwart any deal with Iran. But after the Democratic anger over Netanyahu's scheduled address, key Dems like Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez said he would give the administration until March 24 before voting for new sanctions. And you could argue that the controversy over the speech has made it LESS LIKELY that Netanyahu will be able to influence the Obama administration over the negotiations. Bottom line: The speech, even before it's given, has probably been a boon to Netanyahu's domestic politics. But if the goal was to influence the Obama administration, well, that's been a failure.

The political controversy over Netanyahu's address to Congress at 11:00 am ET has overshadowed a much more significant policy issue -- whether striking a nuclear deal with Iran is a good thing or a bad thing. Here's the Atlantic's Jeffery Goldberg arguing the bad-thing case: "The deal that seems to ...

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