Hillary Clinton on Thursday detailed her strategy for defeating ISIS and terrorism across the globe, urging Congress to act and calling for an intensification and acceleration of President Barack Obama’s current plan.
Emphasizing that the “time for delay is over,” Clinton implored Congress to pass an updated authorization to use military force.
“This is a worldwide fight and America must lead it,” she said at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 dead and hundreds more injured, Clinton said there was a choice to make between fear and resolve.
“We must choose resolve,” she declared.
Clinton outlined three key tenets of her national security plan: defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East; disrupt and dismantle a growing terrorist network; and strengthen American defenses against external and homegrown threats.
The former secretary of state said that, like the president, she does not believe the U.S. should dispatch hundreds of thousands of ground troops to the region.
“That is just not the smart move to make here,” she said.
Clinton called for continued airstrikes over Syria, in combination with the 50 Special Forces that have already been mobilized.
When pressed by moderator Fareed Zakaria, Clinton said it would be a “mistake” to send more troops to Syria, even if there was a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Clinton said her ultimate goal was not to “contain” ISIS, but to “defeat and destroy” the terrorist organization.
“We have to break the group’s momentum and then its back,” she said while stressing “Islam is not our adversary.”
When asked if recent developments made her alignment with the president more complex, Clinton deferred, saying the two mostly agreed on foreign policy. She did, however, point out that she was in favor of arming the moderate rebels in Syria early on, which the administration was not.
Reiterating what she said at a campaign stop in Dallas on Wednesday, Clinton described why the U.S. should continue to accept Syrian refugees.
“We cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and our humanitarian obligations,” she said. “That is just not who we are. We are better than that.”
In the fight against ISIS, Clinton underscored the importance of partnering with the Arabs and Turks, urging them “step up.”
“This is their fight and they need to act like it,” she said.
Clinton also spoke to the urgency of stopping the flow of foreign fighters who return to their home countries “radicalized and battle-hardened.”
This isn’t Clinton’s first major foreign policy address of the campaign season. She delivered lengthy remarks on the Iran nuclear deal in September in Washington D.C.
Clinton’s chief challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has yet to give a major foreign policy speech on combating terrorism.
On the Republican side, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush outlined his national security plan this week and called for boots on the ground in the Middle East.
Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday he would also deploy ground troops “if need be.”