Meet the Press   |  September 15, 2013

U.S. at turning point: What comes next?

A Meet the Press panel discusses the "red line" drawn by the United States and how we're currently being portrayed on the world stage.

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

>> ' ya, we are at a similar point at where we've been in other points of history.

>> have we empowered vladimir putin and what are his self-interests? clearly he has interests in making sure the chemicals don't go to chechnya. he had a real interest in working with the united states here but does he now hold all the cards on the timing and implementation and to all of your point, my colleagues here, what is the big vision? we've drawn a red line on chemicals, belatedly we are trying to enforce it. we're not enforcing it with force but what are the other red lines ? what is the message that tehran is receiving and netanyahu is receiving in jerusalem here? you know, how is the world viewing us as strong, as weak and what is the big picture regarding not only syria as you say but the rest of the region?

>> andrea makes a good point. there is a red line about friendship in a kind of way. you have a situation going to strategy in which every american ally in the region turkey, jordan, united arab emirates , saushg and israel, they don't know what the bashar al assad is doing precisely. they don't know how friendly they are. they don't know if they have their backing. a great deal of confusion and so i think one of the things that the obama administration has to do is reassure its friends. it doesn't mean we've abandoned you.

>> we tend to focus because we're in america and this is an american show man we do but my own feeling is much are important is what they do, okay. and that, you know, we didn't have a problem worrying about the transition of south africa because there was a nelson mandela there. about 30,000 young arabs and must lips have come from all over the arab world all over the muslim world to fight with the jihadists. we know that. how many have come to fight for a multisectarian, multi-party that empowers women and has education. the middle east only puts a smile on your face when it starts with them. we can emly fie that but if the underlying thing is completely fractured between jihadists, tribalists and those who want to be democratic, i have a lot more sympathy for the administration because what do we do but who are? why is it we need all these people to tell us who the syrian opposition really is? did anyone need to tell us who mandela is

>> that's the problem going to the next phase. can you translate this into something that's a real pooh peace process . we're faced with a deeply divided opposition, a thousand different militias, a political opposition that hasn't been able to get its act together in 2 1/2 years to form a shadow government which would be an interlock tore for us or treat a shadow government operating inside as we saw in libya. there's nothing valid or viable --

>> i interviewed the general on friday. i was in get neve v he was in syria and he is today, you know, condemning this --

>> the rebel commander.

>> john kerry is going on to meet in paris tomorrow morning with the british, the french and the saudis and to try to reassure them but there has been as we've all suggested a lot of zigzagging here and the rest of the world is looking to american leadership but americans are looking to what's happening at home.

>> button it up this way, this part of the conversation, unfortunately we didn't get to talk about the breakup of the ottoman empire .

>> next week's show.

>> but the stakes here of where america is, where congress is, this level of apprehension which we see, the stakes are what?

>> well, the stakes are in a slightly narrower frame but important, the stakes are that the next big issue which is iran, right? i mean that's what we're all thinking about, even though we're talking about syria .

>> right.

>> and the question is, are we signaling to the iranians that, hey, we could put down a red line but we don't actually mean it? this is what all of america 's allies in the middle east are worried about and very important.

>> this morning the iranian press announced putin is going to tehran to talk about a nuclear deal. putin volume 2 .