Kerry, Carter at odds over Russia involvement in Syria?

Secretary of state ready to 'welcome' genuine efforts against ISIS


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," September 30, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Dana Perino, along with Kimberly Guilfoyle, Juan Williams, Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld. It is 5 o'clock in New York City and this is "The Five."

There's a new element threatening to obstruct the west war against ISIS in Syria. Vladimir Putin ordered his military to launch airstrikes in the country today, complicating the American-led mission. Russia gave the United States only one hour to clear the skies over Syria, but America didn't comply and conducted its own strikes. Today, the (inaudible) says it attacked ISIS positions, but the pentagon is casting doubt on the claim. Here was our defense secretary, earlier.


SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASHTON CARTER: The result of this kind of action, it will inevitably, simply be to inflame the civil war in Syria. It's doomed to failure. It does appear that they were in areas where there -- probably was -- were not ISIL forces and that is precisely one of the problems with this whole approach.


PERINO: But once again, our administration seemingly not on the same page. Our secretary of state appeared to be welcoming Russia's involvement earlier.


SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: The United States supports any genuine effort to fight ISIL. If Russia's recent actions and those now ongoing reflect a genuine commitment to defeat that organization, then we are prepared to welcome those efforts.


PERINO: Senator John McCain faults President Obama for Putin's actions for Syria.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: This is a bad day and it's a time for American leadership and it's the time that President Obama woke up to the realities in the world and reassert American leadership, and that does not mean that we're going to send thousands of ground troops back into Iraq or Syria, but it does mean that we develop a policy, we are still the strongest nation in the world. Now it's time for us to act like it.


PERINO: National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin joins us now from the Pentagon. Jennifer, that was quite an eventful day at the Department of Defense and for all across the United States government. Was the administration caught flat-footed today?

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. In fact, I got the first tip that this had happened at 4:15 a.m. in the morning. And when I started making calls, there, there was no knowledge that the Russians were planning to do this. And they were completely caught offguard. We've talked to a senior defense official since then. It's created a great deal of turmoil over in Iraq because of course, the U.S. is carrying out air strikes in Northern Syria and they are refusing to halt those air strikes and that there is a real possibility that U.S. war planes could come eyeball to eyeball with Russian fighter jets. Dana?

PERINO: I'll ask you one more question before we take it around the table because this week, just two days ago, President Obama and President Putin met here in New York. The leader from Iran was here as well. Did they not have any discussions there? Or did America just not get the right information?

GRIFFIN: Well, they did have discussions, they spoke for 90 minutes and from what we understand from U.S. officials, there were some protocols set in place for how high-level discussions were going to start to take place, between the two militaries to deconflict inside Syria. There was a plan in place, and basically, what we've been told is that the Russians in ran -- ran around that plan and basically, it have -- essentially, they sent a three-star Russian general into the embassy to deliver this Turk message this morning of a source of mine who had a read-out from the meeting said, it was very tense, it was through a translator. And right now, the Pentagon is extremely insulted that this is how Vladimir Putin responded after meeting the president. But you also heard Secretary Carter say just moments ago that he still trusts the Russians and that he's ordering his team to reach out to the Russian counterparts and keep talking, so there were no consequences to the Russian actions today, Dana.

PERINO: All right, Eric.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: So Jennifer, the way you describe a three-star general approached a low-level attache of the United States and said, "Hey, tell your government you have an hour to clear the skies." Did they really think we were going to clear the skies in an hour? Or is this just kind of Russian bluster, making a big thing and making a big scene and hey, look at us, look at what we're doing?

GRIFFIN: Well, remember, the Turks did the same thing within the last few months. They also, within minutes, told the Americans that they needed to clear their war planes from Northern Iraq because they were going to start, start striking the Kurds. That caught the U.S. military by surprise and created a great deal of tension. So, really the Russians are taking a play from the Turks. What's happening, though, is it's extremely complicated over there. And let's remember, this Russian three-star general, Eric, he is part of that new intelligence-sharing military coordination cell that also surprised the U.S. embassy and the Pentagon last week. We were the first to report on it and that cell was set-up in a self-like manner with Syrians, Iranians and Russians on the ground in Baghdad, right next to, you know under the noses of the U.S. embassy.

BOLLING: But, but...

GRIFFIN: So this is -- there's a lot that the Russian says they're doing and then they go and do something tricky like this.

BOLLING: I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm just trying to figure out -- I am trying to figure out intent here. Was it, "Stand down, United States, move out of the way?" Or was it, "Be careful, we're going to start dropping bombs, we don't want an accident which would create a bigger problem."

GRIFFIN: Well, first of all, the Russian war planes are not acting in the same area where the American war planes are because they are not going after ISIS. The Russians on one hand say they're targeting ISIS, which is up in the northwest part of the country, around Raqqa, but these strikes today were in the western part of the country, they weren't against ISIS, they were in areas where the U.S. has allies, the free Syrian army. And so, this was a cursory sort of, we're going to warn you that we're carrying out airstrikes, get out of the way if you can, but we're going ahead, anyway. So it was not done in a professional manner. It was done with a great deal of disrespect and now the question is how to move forward?

PERINO: Kimberly?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Yeah. And that really is the question. Now you know how best this administration should answer these actions by Russia. What seems to me, to be clearly an alliance now forming with Russia, Iran, Iraq, that whole region where the U.S. has been now essentially squeezed out, this is a very bold move, really kind of in the president's face, coming on the heels of the two leaders meeting.

GRIFFIN: Well, it really creates an issue Kimberly, for how is the U.S. military going to engage with the Iraqis. They can't share intelligence if they believe that the Iraqis are sharing that intelligence with the Russians and the Iranians.


GRIFFIN: That's the most immediate problem at hand.


JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: So, let me ask you a quick here. In terms of military force, is the bombing enough, if they had been bombing ISIS? In combination with U.S. efforts, with Turkish efforts, will that really take out ISIS or is it inevitable that somebody is going to have to send some ground troops in there?

GRIFFIN: Well, as we've seen, airstrikes are of limited value when it comes to fighting an army of terrorists, like ISIS has become with the capital in someplace like Raqqa. So no, airstrikes alone, the Russian airstrikes alone will not make a big difference, even if they were engaged in the fight against ISIS, but the bottom line is, they're not. It's all a lie. It's a fig leaf so that they can bolster the Bashar al-Assad regime. That's what the Pentagon is saying. That is what the evidence shows because again, they didn't go after ISIS targets today. They fired their weapons north of Homs. Homs is not someplace where ISIS is operating, that's where the free Syrian army is...

PERINO: Right.

GRIFFIN: That's where Bashar al-Assad's opponents are.

PERINO: Gutfeld?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Two questions Jennifer. One, what's the scuttlebutt at the Pentagon? What are they talk -- what are they saying about our leadership right now? And number two, could it be that Vladimir Putin was insulted that America had him meet with Obama and not Valerie Jarrett?


GRIFFIN: I'm going to leave that to somebody else to answer...




GRIFFIN: But on, on your first point -- what was your first point again?



GUTFELD: About the way the Pentagon sees how we are actually controlling this situation or dealing with it?

GRIFFIN: Yeah. I think -- listen, I talked to senior military commanders here, who are here in the region, who have had a lot of experience with Iraq. There is extreme frustration at the inaction, at the lack of a strategy at the...


GRIFFIN: They feel like they're being expected to do things, like run this 61-nation coalition with airstrikes over two countries, Syria and Iraq, in very hostile territory where they don't trust their partners on the ground. They don't have ground forces in which they can coordinate with great deal of frustration and at every turn, they feel that groups like the Russians are outmaneuvering them and there is nothing they can do about it and it is very frustrating.

PERINO: At the same time Jennifer, I wanted to ask you about another one of our allies in the region which is Saudi, which is extremely frustrated because the Sunnis, just like Assad, more than anyone and the stated U.S. position is that Assad has to go. The Russian position is Assad must stay. The Iranians, apparently, want Assad to stay, so at this point, do the Saudis feel like they've been let down by the United States?

GRIFFIN: Well, It will be very interesting to hear from the Saudis, I'm surprised that we have not heard anything today because those Russian bombs landed in Sunni-Arab areas and that's the opposition to Bashar al-Assad. These are Sunni groups that are being struck. So undoubtedly, this is going to anger the Saudis, but the question is, what are they going to do about this? What is the U.S. going to do about this? Right now, Putin is laughing. He knows that there are no consequences to these actions.

PERINO: Bolling?

BOLLING: So Jennifer, these air strikes are conducted by Russia within a Russian air base in Syria, right? And so it's kind of limited to Syria. Nothing is spilling over into Iraq, I assume?

GRIFFIN: It's not spilling over yet. But remember, Eric, this intelligence and military coordination cell with this three-star Russian general and other Russian generals that popped up overnight in the last week in Baghdad. That was not expected. The Russians are using Trojan horse-like methods to get their Sukhoi aircraft. They put 32 Russian aircraft into Syria, in the last week alone. We were the first to report that those -- that they used an old trick used by the Israelis, where they flew those war planes under cargo jets so that the radar blot would not -- they would not be visible from the air. And they flew from Iran over Iraq and into Syria and they popped up overnight. This air base that you're talking about, this is not a legitimate Russian air base. This is a pop-up air base. Overnight, they have popped up, now you have -- they also have a naval base nearby in Tartus, they've had that for a long time. They're creating a corridor...

PERINO: Right.

GRIFFIN: In the eastern Mediterranean. And it has the Israelis very concerned.

PERINO: Meanwhile, and Ukraine -- if you're a Ukrainian today, are you thinking that the United States is basically not going to have any capability of helping you pushback Russia from their country?

GRIFFIN: Well, we had the most awkward press conference here at the Pentagon just days ago, where Secretary Carter stood next to his Ukrainian counterpart and had to answer questions about Russia when it was very clear that Secretary Carter was trying to talk about how the train and equip program would continue for the Syrian opposition when the Pentagon and the White House have refused to provide offensive weapons to the Ukrainians. So what are the Ukrainians to think there have been so many embarrassing moments where the double standard is quite obvious to them.

PERINO: All right Jennifer, thank you so much. What leading from behind looks like, folks.

All right, do you trust the media? Most Americans don't. Greg's got a long list of reasons why, that's next.


GUILFOYLE: Welcome back to The Five and you're seeing a live shot, they were waiting for Secretary of State John Kerry and Lavrov to start speaking. And when they start, we're going to take you there live. In the meantime, we're going to continue our discussion from a previously, with Jennifer Griffin, Dana, talking about the situation that has emerged in the Middle East with the Russia stepping into -- fill in this power vacuum and in fact, it was such a slight to the president of the United States after just meeting with Putin, that no notification was given of what Russia intended to do with respect to...

PERINO: Right. And I have to say, I think that obviously, Russia is in the wrong -- people will find out in the coming days how the ball got dropped and where that disconnect is at the National Security Council. John McCain, and one of the sound bites earlier, talked about President Obama owning this, but I also think it's important to remember, Susan Rice is the coordinator of the National Security Council, so this, a lot of this lands back on her desk. I thought what Jennifer Griffin was saying is very insightful. She has amazing sources within the Pentagon, and they are telling her, privately, that they're super frustrated. You think about all of the secretaries of defense that have left and written books, including - - actually, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They also -- they were so frustrated and pushed back against President Obama when they all said, we should do something immediately. When four years ago, the civil war started. President Obama did not take their advice. They all subsequently left, that's Gates, Panetta and Hillary Clinton amongst others. I think Michael Flynn said the same. So they're all frustrated, but at this point, America is going to have to pull together and decide and look to the president of the United States for some leadership.

GUILFOYLE: But what is the decision, you know, coming out of this, Greg, that how we should handle it? Because we have ourselves now in this current, you know timeframe of what's happening, where Russia is literally sending someone to talk to our attaches. A three-star general to say, "By the way, beat it out of Syria, we're taking charge."

GUTFELD: Well, this is what happens when you go from the world's policeman, to the world's guidance counselor. We're only here to offer advice, but you don't want to get involve. We continue to be unhappy that people aren't playing by our rules, but there are no rules. There are only ideals. And the only way you can have ideals is to enforce ideals which we're unwilling to do. We have a president who's a perennial grad student, who treats every event like a stoned sophomore. You know, waiting to cram the night before, but Syria is not a final, you know? It's not, it's not a class project. You wait until the last minute and when you snooze, you lose.

GUILFOYLE: And cram. So Dana brought up a point, Eric, about four years ago and talking about perhaps, you know missed opportunities. And really, kind of a voice of unison and accord with respect to what we should have done. We have the opportunity in Syria.

BOLLING: Yeah. And when this first started about a year and a half ago, when the whole President Obama, the red line, I would -- and I stay where I am. It's not going to be a very popular opinion on it, but what do we want to do? OK, we understand how we got here, but what do we want to do going forward? Do we want to be the ones who come in and kill ISIS? We hate ISIS? We hate Bashar al-Assad? Then we have to turn around and take Bashar al- Assad out? Or do we let them fight it out and then figure out how to pick up the pieces afterwards and push Bashar al-Assad out? Or do -- are we the ones to have the police...

GUILFOYLE: But how are we able to do that?

BOLLING: The region.


BOLLING: Here's how you do it. Like I said, 18 months ago, you pushback -- you push ISIS back out of Iraq. You can do it. You can get...


BOLLING: No, no, but push them in the...

PERINO: I think probably what...

BOLLING: Does Assad really have to go is my question, or do you fix...

PERINO: Well...

BOLLING: A Syrian Assad regime (ph)?

GUILFOYLE: Right, but you said, "But then, send them out." I'm saying if they're in charge and they've been out, you know, seated at the dining table the whole time, all of a sudden, the U.S. is at the kids' table -- we're not going to be (inaudible).

BOLLING: What, a kid's table? And then, what we respect, though. I mean -- as Greg points out, we used to be the world's policeman. Maybe we don't even want to be the world's policeman any more. You just want to make sure that there's at least the...

GUTFELD: But I said -- no, I said I want to be the world's policeman.

BOLLING: All right. No, no, I didn't...

GUTFELD: I didn't say we didn't want to.


BOLLING: I suggested maybe we don't need...

GUILFOYLE: I want to be chief of police.

WILLIAMS: So my problem is being the world's...

BOLLING: By the way, there's genocide and homicide...


BOLLING: Going on around the world in other places...

WILLIAMS: Of course.

BOLLING: That was in Syria.

WILLIAMS: But I can't believe that you say leave Assad in place because that's politically, you know easy to say, "Oh yeah, let's leave him there." But you know what, he's a bad man. He used chemical weapons against his own people. He is fomented terrorism throughout the region as a proxy for the Iranians. I don't like him, but I will say this. I just don't -- can't join with you guys and blame America for all of these problems. And I guess -- I'm going to say nothing else.

GUILFOYLE: We're not blaming America.


WILLIAMS: And even Senator McCain in his statement...

GUILFOYLE: Not blaming America.

WILLIAMS: Senator McCain said he's not about putting troops in and putting troops on the ground. He just wants America to be more forceful, America, to have a strategy. I think that's why people in the Pentagon are frustrated. But in that frustration, don't overlook the fact.

BOLLING: I didn't hear him say that, for the record.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, he said...


WILLIAMS: He said, "We need to have a strategy." But it doesn't mean you will put boots on the ground.

PERINO: I think that...


PERINO: Again, we're getting into this thing of their -- like there's only one solution, and only like one way to solve a problem. There's multiple ways to try to get at this. And I think we're -- time flies, it's actually four years ago that the red line was crossed. And remember, who was our savior at the time? Vladimir Putin...


PERINO: Because he said he would come in and take Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons and get them out of the country. What we know that they all didn't get out of the country because he's been using them against the people. The very people who -- again, it is something like the consequences that have been action is that now have a major international refugee crisis.

GUTFELD: Well doing that thing...

PERINO: Putting pressure on everybody.

GUTFELD: Doing nothing is actually doing something...


GUTFELD: And it was easier for President Obama to sign a treaty. It's easy to sign a dotted line than to enforce a red line. He was more interested in the legacy of that deal, than it was for what's going on in Syria.

WILLIAMS: No, no, no, cheap shot, cheap shot.

GUTFELD: How so?

WILLIAMS: Because the America deeply...

GUTFELD: That's a fact.

WILLIAMS: You know what it is? It's us. It's we, the American people don't have the political will, and I don't care if it was a republican or a democrat.

PERINO: But where is the diplomatic...

WILLIAMS: The question is -- and I think this would speak to your desire, Dana, do we have a leadership -- a leader in the White House who would say to us as an American people, here is a critical need to act. We've had some problems...

GUTFELD: That was climate change, Juan...

PERINO: He said that, he said...


PERINO: He said, he said that the goal and the mission was Bashar...


PERINO: That Assad had to go, and that we're going to degrade and disrupt ISIS.

WILLIAMS: But remember, we couldn't even get the Congress to back Obama for airstrikes.

PERINO: I think that he is -- would have backed him. The president -- look, the president can get pretty much anything done. He has proved -- he could have got that done. He could have got his support.

GUILFOYLE: When he has the will to do it...

PERINO: When you the strategy.


PERINO: Also the other thing we're missing here is that...

WILLIAMS: Well, that's the point. I could...

PERINO: There's a diplomatic position here. Remember, one of the reasons we got to this point is because President Obama wanted more than anything in the region for the Iranian deal to get done, and that -- I think that...

GUILFOYLE: That was his priority.

PERINO: With everything else...


PERINO: And now the Iranians and the Russians are at a much stronger position and Assad is going to have to stay.

BOLLING: It feels like Vladimir Putin saw the opportunity...


BOLLING: To take the world stage and say, "Look, who the big, you know big cheese is in the world right now and he's using it, but when you take a step back -- honestly, I -- is Syria that big of a piece of the puzzle? Is it that big a piece of pie (ph)...

WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, if you're in...

BOLLING: We have...

WILLIAMS: In Europe...

BOLLING: We have allies surrounding the country...

WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, I agree...

BOLLING: Surrounding the country.

WILLIAMS: But if you're in Europe right now and you see the refugee influx?

PERINO: Here in Israel?


WILLIAMS: If Israel -- in fact, Netanyahu went to Russia to talk to Putin recently. To make sure as he intervened...

PERINO: Right.

WILLIAMS: He wouldn't be a threat to Israel.

GUILFOYLE: Well, certainly...

BOLLING: Putin a threat to Israel?

WILLIAMS: Right, because Netanyahu wanted to make sure.

BOLLING: Oh, come on.

GUILFOYLE: Obviously, it's a complicated situation...

BOLLING: Great stuff.

GUILFOYLE: But they have to hit it on all fronts, and diplomacy has to be part of it, but nobody right now is taking U.S. seriously when Vladimir Putin makes a threat. He promises to deliver...

PERINO: I haven't taking -- I know you were teasing into this.


PERINO: I hope people stick around because you're going to want to see this press conference. It's going to be very interesting to see the foreign minister of Russia, Lavrov, who is quite a character, and John Kerry have to try to battle this out...

GUTFELD: Not quite a character.

PERINO: Right.


GUILFOYLE: But he has nice ties.

OK, we're going to take a quick break. Please do what Dana said, stay right here because we're going to be right back with that Kerry/Lavrov presser, as soon as it begins -- back in a moment.


GUILFOYLE: This is a Fox News alert. Welcome back to The Five, and we are awaiting a conference there by Senator John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. When they start to speak, we will bring it to you. Let's go a little bit behind the scenes now, Dana. In terms of what's happening between those two and perhaps, their camps.

PERINO: Well, I think that because they've had a day where there was one serious substantial developments and actions that were on the ground, so this meeting is set up, our Defense Department and our State Department looked earlier in the day like they were on different pages and imagine what they want to do now. So John Kerry's team --and John Kerry and Lavrov and his team are probably huddled together saying, OK, what are you want -- what are you going to say when you go out there? And they're going to want -- at least present some sort of a united front. Complicating this is that you have to call back to the White House and talk to, probably, the president, and the National Security Adviser Susan Rice who actually might be up here in New York because that's where all the activity is.

GUTFELD: Do you think that the reason why he's late is that he rode his bike here?

PERINO: Well, you know the traffic is terrible...


PERINO: In Manhattan, so it could be. It could be. I think that the reason that they're late is because they don't know what to say and they're anticipating the questions that they might get from the media and they want to have...

GUILFOYLE: And how about...

PERINO: They don't want -- if I was John Kerry...


PERINO: I wouldn't want do worsen the situation. You can imagine what Russian state television is like tonight all across Russia because a lot of this has to do with Putin trying to shore up his own domestic politics and to show that Russia is now respected in the world. Russia is overtaking America...


PERINO: I don't think that it's true that Russia is more powerful than the United States, but that's what he will tell the people back home.

WILLIAMS: But you know when they had the announcement yesterday, the Russians went on TV and said, "We are not sending in troops, it's just bombing. Don't think that we are going to invest any long-term money in this deal." That's what they had to say to the Russian...

PERINO: Baloney. And then, that's what they said and then today, Putin was able to get unanimous support for kinetic actions from his parliament.

GUTFELD: Do you think this is where President Obama's community-organizing experience really comes into play, Juan?

WILLIAMS: Absolutely, that's baloney.

GUTFELD: Yeah, I think that's really going to help shore up the problem.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, against Putin. Yeah, yeah, and that...

GUILFOYLE: But this is...

WILLIAMS: It's a community point.

GUILFOYLE: But this is -- this is such an important point. He's able to get that kind of unanimous approval and consent, like you said, for kinetic action. Now would President Obama be able to do that? Just look at that leadership piece right there.

WILLIAMS: You want Obama to be a dictator? That's what Putin is.

GUILFOYLE: No. If he had good ideas.

PERINO: He would have had a majority of support. And he could probably still get it.

GUILFOYLE: But this is the thing. So when you see him able to do that and galvanize that kind of support and get, you know, this measure behind the people, where there...

PERINO: No, I think that that was -- I think that that was a total ruse. I think that they all were told, "You will vote yes."

WILLIAMS: That's what it is.

GUILFOYLE: But nevertheless, nevertheless, that is the message that's going out to the world. These are the actions that he is, in fact, taking regardless of whether or not it's a ruse. This is what's happening in the Middle East. And you see this alliance.

PERINO: And I did hear that over -- and I did hear that this week over at the Turtle Bay, they call it, is where the United Nations is, that there was relief amongst many of the leaders around the world saying, "Finally, OK, somebody is actually going to do something." And it was not the United States.

WILLIAMS: Because they're worried about the immigrant surge.

But the fact is, if you're talking about Russian domestic consumption, Russia is under sanctions. They're selling oil at very low prices, Eric, Right? These people, their economy is weak. And I can understand why nationalistic sentiment is "We want a powerful Russia on the world stage." They're not going to back this; the Russian people aren't going to back this.

BOLLING: Can I just put out (ph) what we need to hear right now from these two? An explanation as to why, if Russia says we're going to go ahead take care of this with ISIS, is bombing the Free Syrian Army...

PERINO: Right.

BOLLING: ... not ISIS? And that -- and we hear John Kerry say, "Yes, we're in favor of Russia getting involved in the fight with our coalition partners. But they have a different goal."

GUILFOYLE: They have a different agenda.

BOLLING: Their agenda is clearly to keep Bashar al-Assad in power.


BOLLING: I get that. But I would like us and John Kerry to address the fact that they are bombing the Free Syrian Army, not ISIS. Our goal is to get rid of ISIS. It's not exactly adding up.

GUILFOYLE: These aren't lining up. And it's very clear, by the first decisive military action that Russia took in the region and specifically who was targeted. It's about their interests. It's about furthering the alliance that they have now created there. The tripartite alliance: Iraq, Iran, Russia. That's the move that's being made here.

And the U.S. now again is caught flat-footed. What is John Kerry going to say? He has to get a few points of consensus where he can agree with the Russian foreign minister to put out a statement that isn't going to be contradicted in an hour.

BOLLING: He agrees with them arbitrarily and says, "Yes, we're on board. We're in favor of Russia getting involved in the fight." And not addressing the fact that they're hitting...


BOLLING: ... different targets than we would be hitting and we want out. Then it's kind of like...

PERINO: So if you're a reporter...

BOLLING: ... "We got caught flat-footed and we don't know where to go."

GUILFOYLE: Well, that's why this is so important.

PERINO: Right. If you're a reporter in the room, that's the question that you want to ask so that you can try to drive -- to show that there's daylight between the two.

In addition, remember when President Obama dragged his feet about helping the Ukrainians, it further emboldened Putin. He needs additional help, because his domestic politics is in a little bit of trouble. This actually helps. Nationalistic pride for the Russians, this is really important for them.

GUTFELD: So basically, we're sending Winnie the Pooh into an MMA fight.

PERINO: How do you think that's going to go?

GUILFOYLE: He does have all that sticky honey. I don't know.

GUTFELD: Tigger is not around.

GUILFOYLE: All right. On a serious note, keep it right here on the FOX News Channel as we wait for our secretary of state and Russia's foreign minister to come to the podium at the U.N. "The Five" returns in just a moment.


GUILFOYLE: This is a FOX News alert. We are minutes away from hearing Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov come to speak at the podium. And we will bring that to you live.

To set the scene again, we are joined by our national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin.

Jennifer, explain to us the importance, the significance, given the recent developments in the last 24 hours, about what we're going to hear today from these two gentlemen.

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kimberly, the reason it's significant is that early this morning, the Russian three-star general in Baghdad entered the U.S. embassy with a demarche. That's an appeal to the U.S. military to pull all of its air assets out of Syria, to remove any forces it has on the ground or any allied forces out of the way, because Russians were beginning to carry out airstrikes in Syria for the first time.

This is the first chance that a senior U.S. official has been able to talk to the Russians since those airstrikes began. It follows, by just one day, a 90-minute meeting between President Obama and Vladimir Putin in New York. Those two leaders thought they had things sorted out in terms of coordinating in the future between the two militaries to avoid, to de- conflict, as they like to say, in the Syrian air space.

Then the Russians basically pulled an end run around the U.S. and gave them one hour's notice before these airstrikes began. Certainly, Kerry is going to want to hear from Lavrov what the Russian intentions are.

What the Russians are saying publicly and what they're doing on the ground, creating facts on the ground, if you will, are very different. There's a lot of daylight between the what the Russians say they're doing and then what we're seeing, what the intelligence says that they're doing.

In fact, the latest intelligence suggests that they -- the Russian strikes did not strike against ISIS, even though that's what Putin and the Russian military says was -- were the targets.

It's very clear that the Russians are trying to prop up the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. That has the Pentagon and White House officials very, very concerned.

Kerry just yesterday, in an interview on a rival network, said that he thought that Russia's presence in Syria was, in fact, an opportunity. Does Kerry still feel that way today? We asked that of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. It is very clear that the Pentagon, White House and State Department are caught flat-footed by the Russian moves today. And this is the first face-to-face meeting that a U.S. official has had with a Russian official to try and figure out what's actually going on -- Kimberly.

BASH: Jennifer, was there any truth -- this is Dana. Was there any truth or confirmation that the airstrikes that the Russians did today hit 36 civilians in that area?

GRIFFIN: Well, that's certainly the reports from the Syrian Human Rights Observatory. This is a group that has a great reputation. It's a group that we've all relied on over the past few years. There are reports on the ground in terms of human rights abuses; and these kind of strikes are usually pretty accurate. And they certainly showed pictures and video of children being pulled out of rubble.

So clearly, whatever the Russians thought they were hitting, they hit some civilians. Because we've seen evidence that some women and children were struck today.

GUILFOYLE: There's probably going to be limited reports about that, because that's not going to be good for the overall Russian picture.

Eric, you have a question?

BOLLING: Jen, I don't even know if you can answer this, Jennifer. But you know, Sergey Lavrov is very forceful; he's very forward. John Kerry today seemed a little bit meek and -- I don't know -- on his heels today. Almost like he was shocked by what was going on. Do you expect anything different?

And by the way, do we really want our secretary of state with Sergey Lavrov today, hours after they initiate strikes, that they didn't tell us about?

GRIFFIN: Well, I think you actually do want Secretary Kerry there face to face with Lavrov. But what you want, and this is what I'm not sure what the message is that he delivered privately. Because publicly, the message in the last 24 hours, even in the last 12 hours since we first reported about this Russian demarche, this request for U.S. war planes and U.S. personnel to leave Syria. Ever since then, the public statements by the defense secretary here at the Pentagon was that we will keep talking to the Russians. That's the message being put out.

There are no consequences that are being threatened at this point. There are no sanctions being talked about. There are no -- the -- I feel that from reading the tea leaves here and at the State Department and at the White House briefing today, they feel that they don't have a lot of options left in Syria. And in Iraq, frankly. They realized that the Russians are a fact on the ground. And so they have to talk to them.

Back to you.

GUILFOYLE: And we're seeing this live, again, at the U.N. Again, awaiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. We expect them to be speaking momentarily. We're going to take a quick break, and we'll be right back. Stay with "The Five."


GUILFOYLE: This is a FOX News alert. And we are moments away. We are inspecting Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to come out and speak. So probably a lot of different things going on behind the scenes. They will be coming out momentarily. We're going to take to you there live. You see we have the picture up.

I the meantime, we're joined by our national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, for a little bit more of the background and the intel on some really interesting developing scenarios over there in the Middle East just in the past 12, even 24 hours.

And Jennifer, there are many who believe that we are watching the collapse, essentially, of 70 years of U.S. blood and treasure in the Middle East, with Russia stepping in to take the helm and deciding the course and future of the Middle East with respect to Iraq, Iran and a heavy presence now in Syria.

GRIFFIN: That's right, Kimberly. In fact what we have seen in the last 12 hours is an absolute game-changer in terms of the relationships in the Middle East.

We have been reporting, for the last two weeks, these stealthy Russian movements not just into Syria, setting up a pop-up air base there and a naval base and sneaking those 32 war planes into Syria. But also now this intelligence coordination cell that they've set up in Baghdad, right under the U.S. embassy's noses, with the Iranians, with the Syrians and with, now with the Iraqis.

This creates a huge challenge for the U.S. military that's trying to lead this air coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It's very clear that, while the Russians say that they are going to strike ISIS targets, they did not go after ISIS targets today. The Pentagon defense secretary said as much himself from the podium here. It's clear from the pictures on the ground that there were civilians, women and children who were struck. And that this is where the Free Syrian Army, allies of the U.S., are based, in Homs and Hama (ph). That's where the Russians are carrying out those airstrikes, basically to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which is the whole reason for the refugee crisis, flooding into Europe. The whole reason for ISIS having formed to begin with.

So right now, Russia is, you know, trying to assert itself as a super power, and it is -- and there are essentially no consequences. And they in essence have snookered the Americans. Because President Putin met with President Obama for 90 minutes on Monday at the U.N. And just one day later, his three-star general goes into the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, issue as demarche and asks for all U.S. War planes and personnel to leave Syria. That's where we stand right now.

GUILFOYLE: And you've set the stage so well for the importance, the significance of this meeting of these two gentlemen speaking, because what will be the U.S. response and will we show some measure and fortitude against what has been a very bold move by Russia in the past 24 hours?

Juan, you have a question?

WILLIAMS: So I want to come to just that point, Jennifer. You had mentioned consequences. So if we are in a new era of U.S. competition versus Russia and the Russians are now taking advantage of shared intelligence that we have been having with the Iraqis, because the Iraqis are now part of their deal, what can the United States do to punish Russia, to push back?

GRIFFIN: Well, I mean, you saw what they -- they've tried to do when Russia used the same maneuvers. By the way, this an old playbook that they used when they used in Ukraine when they invaded Crimea just -- just over a year ago.

So you're not talking about a new Russia. This is -- the Russians have been doing this. And there were no consequences other than some sanctions against some senior Russian leadership in the wake of the Crimea invasion and the invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. has not supplied weapons to Ukraine. The U.S. has spent about $231 million to train a Syrian opposition force that was supposed to go against ISIS; and you know, we've been reporting in the last couple of weeks the Pentagon admits there are only four or five fighters in the field now for that $231 million. Many of them in fact we reported just in recent days, that they handed over their weapons to an al Qaeda front group inside Syria.

So the U.S. strategy is in shambles right now. Russia is taking advantage of that, filling the vacuum, and that's the danger here.

GUILFOYLE: Right. Russia on the march. And Jennifer Griffin, thank you for joining us here on "The Five." FOX News national security correspondent. We'll be hearing more from Jennifer in the moments to come, when we are joined with "Special Report."

All right, Dana, so we'll go through and...

PERINO: Well, a couple of things I thought I would mention is that President Obama came to the United Nations this week with a couple of things in mind. He had a successful visit with the pope. He's got the Iranian deal in the bag. And he's got the trans-pacific partnership, the big trade deal pretty much done, almost a done deal with the other nations signing on.

So he wanted to do two basic things. The No. 1 thing was to get -- try to get an agreement going on climate change, right? They've made some agreements on the side deals, but that's certainly not the headline.

You always have to expect the unexpected. In this case, the president now has to put a ton of focus on the issue that he didn't want to talk about, which is ISIS.

The other thing that happened yesterday is the Taliban overran a major city in Afghanistan, and we had to send additional American troops there. Right now, President Obama had been trying to draw down troops from Afghanistan. You have the people in the Pentagon now and the general over there in Afghanistan saying we should absolutely not do that.

The second thing President Obama and America wanted to focus on are these new sustainable development goals. There are 169 of them, and these are things like making sure that children could read by the age of five. And they're all very laudable goals, not very prioritized, but no one is actually talking about those things that the United Nations could do. Because everyone had been ignoring this problem up until now.

GUILFOYLE: Which has been four significant years in the making, and now we see the aftermath. And that's why the statements we're about to hear from Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov are going to be so pivotal, really setting the stage up for what we can expect going forward.

And I believe that they're walking in now, so we -- all right. There they go. They're on their way in, and let's see what the reaction is and whether or not they were to come to some points of agreement and unison in the face of this crisis.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We met with Secretary Kerry for the, I think, third time in a few days. Today we devoted our meeting to the follow up of what our presidents agreed when they met here on the 28th of September.

The first instruction to us was to make sure that the military of the United States, the coalition led by the United States on the one hand, and the military of the Russian federation were now engaged in operations in Syria at the request of the Syrian government. Get in touch and establish channels of communications to avoid any unintended incidents. And we agreed that the military should get into contact with each other very soon.

No. 2, we also discussed what the presidents told us about the promoting political process. We all want Syria democratic, united, secular. Syria which is a home for all ethnic and concessional groups, whose rights are guaranteed. But we have some differences as for the details on how to get there.

But we agreed on some steps, which we will undertake very soon and our experts will undertake very soon, together with other countries, including the United Nations, on creating the conditions for options to be used, to be applied to promote the political process.

And I believe that this meeting, as a follow-up to the decisions -- discussions between the two presidents, is a very useful occasion to promote constructive and safe approaches to the situation in Syria and around it. We agreed to remain in touch with John and, as always, we are available for contacts with each other.

Thank you very much.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Sergey has described the meeting that we had, which we would both concur was a constructive meeting.

I re-laid and reiterated the concerns that I expressed in the course of the U.N. Security Council meeting, which was led by Russia today. Concerns that we have, obviously, about the nature of the targets, the type of targets and the need for clarity with respect to them. And it is one thing, obviously, to be targeting ISIL. We're concerned, obviously, if that is not what is happening.

So as Sergey said to you, we agreed on the imperative of, as soon as possible, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow, but as soon as possible, having a military-to-military de-confliction discussion, meeting, conference, whichever, whatever can be done as soon as possible. Because we agree on the urgency of that de-confliction.

Secondly, we did discuss a number of different ways to try to address the conflict itself. And several options were agreed to be further discussed. I need to take those back to Washington to the president and to our team. And I'm sure Sergey will likewise discuss them with President Putin and his team. And we will follow up on that for certain.

Because we also agreed that it is imperative to find a solution to this conflict and to avoid escalating it in any way or seeing it intensified by forces beyond anybody's control.

And finally, the foreign minister and I agreed that there is, even as we don't have yet a resolution with respect to some critical choices in that political solution, we think we have some very specific steps that may be able to help lead in the right direction. That needs to be properly explored.

And so we agreed we have a lot of work to do. And we're going to get to doing that work as rapidly as possible, understanding fully how urgent this is in the context of refugees flowing out, the impact on Europe, the impact on the region. And understanding also that -- that we need to see Syria kept whole, unified, secular, democratic, and those are big agreements in that regard. And now we need to work on getting there. So we will stay in very close touch and continue to work on this.

Thank you all very much. Thank you.

GUILFOYLE: And that was Secretary of State John Kerry, along with the Russian prime minister, Sergey Lavrov, addressing and, of course, not taking, in fact, any questions. Making some pretty basic statements, saying that there's more work to do. They're going to try and get some consensus. And Secretary of State John Kerry saying that he's going to make some suggestions about how he feels this should be handled.

Dana, you want to translate through State Department speak? And then Greg has a comment.

PERINO: Well, I would just say that, basically, what they did, if you put that through the strainer, you come out the other end, that they don't have a solution. That was a very restrained effort by the two of them. I think that they raised more questions and they didn't answer any.


GUTFELD: That was John Kerry saving face. I can't blame him. Botox ain't cheap.

GUILFOYLE: Glad we went to you for that.

BOLLING: So Kerry pointed out the de-confliction agreement that they need. That's basically carving up what they're going to do and what we're going to do, but that should have been prior to...

GUILFOYLE: And why wasn't that?

BOLLING: Because we're weak. It's clear. Whatever strengths (ph) you agree on or ascribe to, we are weak, and that was proof right there. You show a strong Russia right there, and you show a "what are we doing" America right next to them.

GUILFOYLE: Juan, how can this not be a reflection of the administration of the United States as they basically have been relegated to a suggestion box of Vladimir Putin?

WILLIAMS: I don't think we're anybody's suggestion box. We're the strongest military in the world. And they're playing with us, because I think they're afraid of any kind of incident. That's why that odd word, you know, de-conflictation [SIC]. Whatever that word.

PERINO: De-confliction.

WILLIAMS: De-confliction.

GUTFELD: It will be banned.

WILLIAMS: It's a new word, but it means nothing. But I mean, because they are -- I think the Russians don't want -- and I think the Russians right now have support from people who are worried about the lack of policy that's led to the immigrant surge. People say, "Oh, good. If somebody else is willing to get here and do the work, do it."

BOLLING: De-confliction is very important, though. That's divvying up the pie.

WILLIAMS: No, no, no, I agree. Not divvying up the pie; it's avoiding a military fight between the U.S. and Russia.

PERINO: Right. Don't forget, a quarter of a million people have been killed by...

GUILFOYLE: That's correct. So as this crisis unfolds, keep it right here on the Fox News Channel. "Special Report" is next.

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