The Republican-controlled Congress made history yesterday with the incredible disrespect of President Barack Obama. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress at the invitation of Republican House Speaker John Boehner. The White House was not consulted on the invitation and did not endorse the visit. It is a rare honor for a world leader to address a joint session of Congress. In the past, Nelson Mandela received this great honor. But never has the Congress been given over to a world leader who is lobbying for war. Netanyahu’s speech was considered by many a direct slap to the president’s foreign policy and a disrespect of his presidency.
Netanyahu made his case for continued and increasing pressure on Iran to totally disable its capability of producing a nuclear weapon. The United States is currently in negotiations with Iran to monitor and address the threat of its nuclear capability in closed talks. However, the Israeli prime minister feels that is a bad deal that does not stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, rather it “paves the way.” Netanyahu further stated that “No deal was better than a bad deal” when it came to nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Elements of the U.S. negotiations call for Iran to have a 10-year freeze with intrusive international inspections over its nuclear program. President Obama, who did not attend the speech, stated “The alternative that the prime minister offers is no deal, in which case Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program, accelerate its nuclear program, without us having any insight into what they’re doing, and without constraint.”
Many feel that Netanyahu is attempting to sabotage the current talks with Iran. If successful in ending talks, Iran would likely not return to the negotiating table and instead would continue further development of a nuclear weapon. Such an action by Iran would give Israel an excuse to attack the Islamic state and destroy or degrade its nuclear weapons capability. This would potentially draw the United States into another regional conflict.