All 54 Republicans in the US Senate will vote against ratification of the Iran nuclear pact negotiated between Tehran and the P6 nations. They'll need 13 Democrats to vote with them and the deal is effectively stillborn. Democratic senator Chuck Schumer could deliver the Republicans the votes they need.
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has shamelessly lobbied Congress to reject the deal, arguing it leaves Israel in peril. No surprise there. But what if Netanyahu gets his way and his US minions sabotage the deal? James Traub from the Center for International Cooperation says failure at this point could wreck relations between Israel and the Democrats for a generation to come.
Netanyahu threw down the gauntlet with the Obama administration a long time ago; perhaps he thinks he has nothing left to lose. But that’s almost certainly not true. If 13 Democrats heed the Israeli siren song and the nuclear deal collapses, only a fantasist can believe that Iran will come back for a new and harsher deal or that the United Nations and the European Union will hang tough on sanctions. Instead, Iranian centrifuges will start spinning once again, while Pakistani scientists carrying nuclear blueprints will make clandestine visits to Saudi Arabia. Netanyahu will then take the game one step further by calling for airstrikes against Iranian facilities. If he succeeds — which I doubt — Americans will never forgive Israel for its role in a catastrophic decision.
Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that he is perfectly prepared to pay that price. Can Chuck Schumer say the same? I would suggest that his higher obligation would be to protect Israel from its own worst instincts.
Traub believes the relationship between Israel and the Democrats wouldn't survive a veto override.
Consider the geopolitical math. Until recently, critics of the proposed nuclear deal could claim that “our allies in the region” believed that it threatened their security. But last week, the Saudi foreign minister blessed the deal, if rather halfheartedly. The president of the United Arab Emirates and the emir of Kuwait sent congratulatory notes to Iran, though that still falls short of an endorsement. “Our allies” will not continue to lobby against the deal; only Israel will.