Meet the Press   |  September 01, 2013

Roundtable reflects on Kerry's remarks

A Meet the Press panel discusses remarks made earlier on the show by Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the administration's plan for action should Congress deny authorization for a strike in Syria.

Share This:

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

>> bill kristol , what i heard secretary kerry say today is even if congress says no the president will say yes. he's decided. he's launching military strikes. he also said if assad were to use weapons again the united states might strike again.

>> i think practically speaking it would be hard for the president to act absent an a use of chemical weapons again, without getting congress on board, having gone to congress , but this is a difficult decision. in the first bush white house in 1990 . there were people who did not want us to go to congress for the first gulf war . john kerry voted against that authorization. we got it through against the leadership of the democratic party . i think in this case similarly republicans and i would think a majority of republicans will end up voting to authorize the use of force . what john kerry said to you, you mentioned he made news by mentioning the sarin gas . he also made news i think by trying to get senators mccain and graham and people like me who really want assad to go. the way to deter the future use of chemical weapons in syria is to get rid of assad . he's the one guy to use them. but senator kerry gave an opening to the hawks when he said the military option is limited, it's just to deter and punish the use of chemical weapons , but our political aim remains to get rid of assad and we will weaken assad appreciably. and i do think in fact there will be a way to recognize the views of the hawks like senator mccain and graham, maybe give the doves in congress something say nothing ground troops, at least for now, perhaps we should try to end this quickly. people forget this is a dynamic process. this authorization will go to the senate foreign relations committee for mark-up next week.

>> inwrin in a broadway allowing for lots of marking up. the members of congress say we made it better. but don't you have to have an agreed-upon goal? senator paul , for instance, can say i'm against this because this is about regime change. i don't care what you say. how do you then make the case -- and i guess that's what the sarin gas revelation was about today. how do you make the case our goals are common? that's the challenge going forward not only persuading the congress to go along with the president but persuading the american people . the polls this week did not give much comfort to the white house to plunge ahead.

>> i think that's what's tremendously important. i think we saw what happened in britain when plunging ahead caused a prime minister to lose a military vote for the first time in two centuries. this gives the president more time to make the case to a very this war-weary public about why we're doing what we're doing, to re-establish red lines , to re-establish societal and international norms. and i do think the onus is certainly on the white house and the administration to enunciate if this isn't part of a longer term policy in syria, what is part of it? giving the president a chance to make that case in a longer way is not necessarily