Benjamin Netanyahu Is the Least Important Player on the Iran Chessboard
The problem Netanyahu has is that he’s shot his bolt on Iran. He has already succeeded in rallying Republicans in Congress to his cause. He has already made his case to both chambers of Congress and the American people. He has already warned about the worst-case scenarios. He has already maximized the forces that oppose the framework deal.
And … that’s it. There aren’t any more persuadables.
His complaints will fall on deaf ears in the current administration. In his statement Thursday, Obama made it clear that he knew Netanyahu would oppose the deal, and he said the same thing in his sit-down with Tom Friedman. On Sunday, Ben Rhodes, Obama’s foreign policy amanuensis, told Fareed Zakaria on CNN, “I think that we’re not going to convince Prime Minister Netanyahu.” In other words, the White House no longer cares all that much about what Netanyahu thinks on this issue.
It’s increasingly unlikely that Netanyahu’s rhetoric is going to persuade any persuadable Democrats in Congress to oppose any eventual deal. Indeed, the framework announcement already has delayed one of the sanctions bills in the works. Bob Menendez stepping down as the ranking minority member of the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee removes a key Democratic critic of the negotiations. Hillary Clinton’s de facto endorsement of the negotiations,