Hillary Clinton said Thursday that it’s time for a “new phase” in the fight against the Islamic State that includes more air and drone strikes, the halt of financing and the shut down of terrorist social media accounts by technology companies.
In a speech, the Democratic front-runner for president said she agreed with President Barack Obama’s decision to deploy a small contingent of special operations forces into northeastern Syria to help local opposition groups beat back the Islamic State, and that she may even agree to send more, but she would not send U.S. ground troops.
“This is a time for American leadership,” she said in speech at Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “No other country can rally the world to defeat ISIS and win the generational struggle against radical jihadism. Only the United States can mobilize common action on a global scale.”
Her remarks mark a shift from those at the Democratic presidential debate Saturday in which Clinton said that the battle “cannot be an American fight.”
Clinton said European nations need to to improve intelligence sharing, called for a no-fly zone over northern Syria to cut off supplies and, drawing a distinction to Republican candidates, said the United States should house Syrian refugees.
“Turning away orphans, applying a religious test, discriminating against Muslims, slamming the door on every single Syrian refugee – that is just not who we are,” she said. “We are better than that.”
Clinton urged Congress to “swiftly” pass an updated authorization to use military force and urged Turkey and Saudi Arabia to change their focus from battling Kurdish forces and the conflict in Yemen to the fight against Islamic State militants.
Republicans have repeatedly tried to link Clinton to the foreign policy of Obama, who they say have underestimated the threat posed by the Islamic State.
“Hillary Clinton is the architect of the failed Obama foreign policy that has presided over a steep increase in radical Islamic terrorism and the rise of ISIS,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said. “Rather than putting forward a new plan to defeat ISIS, Hillary Clinton offered soaring platitudes and largely doubled down on the existing Obama strategy.”