Alex Witt   |  September 08, 2013

Kerry: If we don't confront this now, we will see this grow

Democratic strategist Morris Reid, MSNBC contributor Susan Del Percio and MSNBC.com's Irin Carmon join Alex Witt with reactions to Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks on Syria from Paris.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> to bring in our big 3 panel. you guys, we're going to blow this up a little bit and not have a traditional big 3 . i want to have you all respond to what you heard secretary kerry say. first thing to you, morris reid, he said that syrians -- the possibility of their implosion, that americans care about that. given what we have heard from town hall meetings across this country, particularly in this last week, do you agree with that? do americans care enough to do something about it?

>> well, it's two parts. yes, americans care when people are being wiped out and treated badly. so they do care about that. the second part of that is that explaining to the american people why they should care about getting involved in this particular situation. that's what the administration hasn't done well up to this point. and that's what you're hearing at these town hall meetings . yes, americans care about this from a macro sense. but in this micro sense, we haven't explained the urgency of the situation to them.

>> susan , john kerry says, if we don't act now, what kind of a message does that send? and that he guaranteed that it would allow for an escalation of the use of chemical weapons down the road, a different time, a different place, perhaps an even greater force. is that a compelling enough argument? is that what you heard? is that something that the president could then capitalize upon in his speech to the nation on tuesday night?

>> the bigger problem is this should have happened about ten days ago. as secretary of state kerry said. this concerns all americans because it is a matter of national security . you cannot let nations use chemical weapons . and i think it would have been fine if the president would have done the military strikes and then reported to the american public. now people don't understand. there's a lot of information out there. i think morris was right. the president has to now address the country and tell them this should a moral issue, they should be outraged at it. the president was really conflicted as the academic of wanting to bring it to congress and the commander in chief and seeing what happened to these people -- i think is probably somewhat surprised the american people haven't fallen in line. and most of all that the other world leaders weren't right behind him.

>> and the reason why is because they are waiting for the u.n. weapons inspector's report. that may happen later this week. but is that a copout? are they just buying time? is there really any question really as to whether chemical weapons were used?

>> i don't think at this point -- there are doubts about the intelligence from the margins. but i think the majority of people believe something happened here that involved assad's authorization. the problem is many world leaders who have been our allies in the past are weary from the past from having been led down the path by the bush administration . the other problem is they don't really see a strategic and meaningful game plan about what happens after this missile attack, what is the next step? how do they anticipate that assad will respond? and i think they're wary of getting into a long-term quagmire like the ones we've seen in recent history.

>> the world leaders are holding back. there is a cancer growing in this situation and it's iran . and until we step up and deal with this, our allies, all of them around the world in that part of the region want our help. we don't want to wait until there's a hitler situation. the leadership, they need to step up.

>> morris , do you think iran really fears some sort of u.s. retaliation if they, as suggested with hezbollah placed inside syria to launch strikes should the u.s. launch these tomahawk missiles --

>> we are the only country that can refute and put these guys in check. they are bluffing ander that bluffers. until we step up and deal with them, we will continue to hear them talk this type of language.

>> until we step up and deal with them. if we do not, we have talked about this red line being crossed in the sand. if we do not do something, how do you think our credibility is viewed by iran and its leaders?

>> i think --

>> out the window.

>> if we don't step up and deal with these guys, it will be a slippery slope and spiral out of control and embolden them to do other things. they're already acting in beirut and iraq.

>> susan ?

>> i completely agree with morris on this one. the interesting thing about iran is they like to raise their head and scream that they'll do this or this. but right now, they're being strangled by the rest of the world because they're not getting their commerce through, they're not getting their oil at the same level as they were before. and iran is important. but more importantly right now, it is up to the president to make this moral argument and gain support among the american public. once that happens, i think you'll see the other world leaders fall in line.

>> do you think he's going to be able to do that?

>> i think unfortunately he's left the most recent summit with very little additional support. domestically, he's having a lot of trouble both in his own party from people who are already suspicious of war from the emerging right wing, suspicion of war. unfortunately the obama administration has now been reduced to touting that they have the support of bush administration officials who are the very ones that they said that they were going to replace and bring back credibility to the world stage. i'm not terribly optimistic that obama is going to be able to make the case, much as i think he is sincerely upset and does want to act.

>> if you want to bring credibility back to the world stage, it's about decisive leadership. whether you like george bush or not, this is the right thing to do. if obama wants to show credible leadership, lead the world now.

>> morris , that may well be the case. but to do that, he has appealed to congress to back him up on this. to all three of you, will he get the votes to do so?

>> no, he won't get the votes. he still has to go ahead.

>> susan ?

>> at the end, i think he'll get them. i think it will be very narrow but once the congress comes back and sees all the videos and such and gets properly briefed, i think there's enough undecided out there that it will go that way.

>> erin?

>> yes, absolutely on the senate. the house, looks like a stretch.

>> my fabulous big 3 today,