'This Week' Transcript: David Plouffe and Karl Rove

AARON DAVID MILLER, THE WILSON CENTER: Yes. I think it's going to get worse before it gets worse. I think to say there's no good options is an understatement. There are really bad options for this president, who, in my judgment, has willfully and wisely decided at no application of military power, unless he's prepared to define a strategy, literally to identify a comprehensive military strategy that would degrade and ultimately undermine and get rid of Assad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That would include U.S. troops?

MILLER: Not necessarily, no. Arm and trade, no-fly zone and sophisticated weapons to carefully-vetted rebel groups, I mean, that's a military strategy that the administration could, could address.

The problem is -- and I know Afghanistan and Iraq are false analogies here. No one's talking about boots on the ground.

The apt point is this. The relationship between the application of military power and the end state. That is the single greatest constraint that this president is facing.

How does the application of American military power not only undermine and degrade the Assads but --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Get this through --

MILLER: -- how do you deal -- exactly -- without owning it? And that question --


AMANPOUR: Well, I think, again, these are all straw men and all red herrings because you can't keep fighting the last war. And what's happened here is that now, we're witnessing right now. And honestly, it's not too dramatic to call the alarm right now a regional sectarian war has broken out. Iraq --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does not involve --

AMANPOUR: Lebanon, Sunni Shiite, and involved in Syria -- Iraq Sunni Shiite, American allies, Turkey and Jordan, buckling under the pressure of all these refugees. And this is spreading out. Israel, involved -- involved, using its own power.


STEPHANOPOULOS: But that gets to my question. Do we want to be in the middle?


AMANPOUR: It's not about being in the middle, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- a regional civil war?

AMANPOUR: It's not really about being in the middle. There are several choices. And from what my reporting has told me, is that there are many people in the United States, the Obama administration, national security and defense organizations, who want to see arm and train.

The president doesn't want to do it. And you've articulated why. The president has vetoed, as you know already, former CIA director Petraeus, Former Defense secretary Leon Panetta, former secretary --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Last year, yes.

AMANPOUR: Yes, on precisely this thing. And people still want to do it, arm and train. It's the only thing that you can do.

GHOSH: And let's not forget that United States doesn't have skin in the game. We already do. All of our allies are involved. Before any important weapon systems go up, Israel will have a say. Israel has already flown flights into Syria to take out systems.

And let's not imagine that that does not have ramifications for us. Even if Israel acts alone, the message that is being sent to the Middle East and to the wider world, that it is -- that the United States has -- already has kinetic involvement through Israel in Syria.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And let me ask you this. If the Russians are so determined to stick by Assad, is there any way that this comprehensive strategy that you laid out earlier can work?

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