'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

But look, there is so much that's complicated. You say the White House talks about not precipitously -- well that's, really, you know, precipitously. This has been two years now. And all the reasons for not intervening have actually come true because of not intervening.

If you look at the front of "The Economist" this week, it says "Syria, death of a country." Why is that important, beyond the tens of thousands of Syrians and all the things you've just outlined, friends of the United States around (ph) being destabilized, the massive amount of weapons that could be loose, just like happened in Libya and is now threatening West Africa with Al Qaida popping up. And beyond that, do we want to see Syria become Somalia? Do we not remember what Somalia was and the danger Somalia was for the United States and for that whole region? And so the options, as far as I can see, is the U.S. does what you're suggesting, tries to have skin in the game, tries to have some credibility on the ground, some influence on the ground, and turns what is a war anyway into a shorter war rather than a longer war that's leading to Somalia.

STEPHANOPOULOS: (inaudible) consensus around the table, George.

WILL: Well, let me try and disrupt the harmony.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

WILL: We have two objections. The humanitarian objective of economizing violence. And the strategic objective of controlling the outcome. And they may be in conflict.

No analogy is perfect, but go back to the Spanish civil war that began in 1936. By the time it got in full-blown proportions, there was no happy choice. It was going to be the communists who were going to control Spain or Franco was going to control Spain. And we may be at that point in Syria. Now, you say, Congressman, we know who the rebels are. How do we know?

(CROSSTALK)

ENGEL: We know -- we know the Free Army. But let me just say one other thing, there's another thing that's very important here. It's a blow to Iran if Assad falls. Assad has been the best ally of Iran, of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, by the way. The Europeans should designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. But Iran would be dealt a blow. They're fighting. They have their soldiers in Syria. Hezbollah is fighting in Syria. This would be a strategic blow to Iran if Assad falls.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I want to get to Iran right now, because David Muir, our David Muir spent a week there as well to look at -- spent some time in Tehran, around the country, and took a look at how hard these sanctions, these international sanctions are hitting.

MUIR: George, good morning. There's really no question that the economic sanctions, the tightening sanctions led by the U.S., are truly being felt here in Iran. So many people we talked with talked about the prices going up dramatically here. Inflation at rates of 40 percent in some places.

So there's no question that people are feeling these sanctions. The question is whether or not the leadership is feeling it and whether they're going to do anything about it? The supreme leader here saying that America needs to prove its good will. The president saying they're not going to go to the negotiating table with a gun to their head by America. All of that alluding to the economic sanctions. So the people here are feeling it, but whether or not that's going to press leaders as they head to that negotiating table next week is the big question this morning, George.

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