To be clear, the Speaker of the House can invite anybody he wants to address Congress, and the president cannot do much about it. So while the invitation is not a breach of protocol for Boehner, it’s a really bad idea for Bibi. Not only will it further alienate the people who actually conduct America’s foreign policies; it will also expose Netanyahu’s habit of indiscretion in seeking to manipulate partisan divisions in this country in pursuit of his own interests. I’m sure his defenders will make the plea that Iran’s nuclear program represents an “existential threat” to Israel, making all normal diplomatic rules disposable. But since everybody agrees that Iran’s a major global problem and disagree on how to deal with it, Netanyahu would be better advised to make his case in private. But bullying and excessively Machiavellian maneuvering do seem to be a basic part of his personality, I’m afraid.
Aaron David Miller thinks Bibi is mostly just focused on keeping his job:
Any time an incumbent has an opportunity to use the powers and prestige of office to burnish his prime ministerial image, particularly that close to an election, so much the better. It won’t be determinative. Israelis didn’t ride in on a bale of hay yesterday; they’re all too familiar with their politicians’ politicking. But in a close election, being feted and supported by your country’s key ally with a focus on critical security issues in an age of jihadi terror, well…..that’s not a bad photo op. And if Bibi wins? We probably can expect to see more of him as both Democratic and Republican candidates for president of the United States fight for the title of Israel’s best friend.
Along those lines, Larison grimaces:
The frequency with which Israeli leaders have been addressing Congress in the last decade is remarkable in itself. This will also be the third time overall that Netanyahu has addressed Congress as Israeli prime minister, and the second time in four years that he will have done so. It will be the third address to Congress by an Israeli prime minister within a decade, and fifth since 1995. No other country’s head of government has spoken so often to our Congress in the last twenty years. (It is not an accident that the last five appearances have taken place while the GOP controlled the House.) That might make sense if Israel were actually a treaty ally of the United States, but it isn’t. It also might make sense if the relationship with Israel were extraordinarily valuable to the U.S., but the U.S. gets almost nothing from this relationship except political and diplomatic headaches. It is one more example of how one-sided and strange the U.S.-Israel relationship has become.
Meanwhile, Juan Cole fumes over Bibi and the hawks’ ongoing and blatant attempts to block the Iran deal:
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff looked at this issue and have decided that only an Iraq-style invasion, occupation and regime change could hope to abolish the nuclear enrichment program. If that is what it takes, the US and Israeli hawks are perfectly all right with it. It would be good times for the military-industrial complex, and Israel’s last major conventional enemy (though a toothless one) would be destroyed. An irritant to US policy and a threat to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, our big volatile Gasoline Station in the Sky, would also be removed.
Iran is three times as populous and three times as large as Iraq. So I figure this [war] enterprise would cost at least 15,000 troops dead, 90,000 seriously wounded, and altogether $15- 24 trillion dollars over time (including health care for the 90,000 wounded vets). Given the size of the country and the nationalism of the population, it could be much more like the US war in Vietnam than Iraq was, i.e. it could end in absolute defeat.
And again, Mossad isn’t game either.