Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday night that, though he supports “doing whatever it takes” to address the growing terrorist threat in the Middle East, the U.S. should be wary its actions don’t create further unrest.

Paul suggested it was, in fact, U.S. efforts to topple secular dictators in the region that led to the rise of Islamic extremist groups. 

“While I do support doing whatever it takes to take out ISIS, we need to remember why we got here. And the reason we got here is because we took it upon ourselves to topple secular dictators who are enemies of radical Islam,” he said, naming ex-Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Syrian President Bashar Assad ("maybe") and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"We did allow a festering of chaos, when we toppled the secular dictators," Paul said.

It was a return to the more isolationist tone that Paul, a leader in the libertarian movement, had typically been known for. He surprised many supporters when he came out in support of military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Paul’s remarks followed shortly after President Obama’s address to the nation laying out his plans to tackle the threat posed by ISIS fighters.

The Kentucky Republican faced pushback from Fox News host Sean Hannity, who argued it was the U.S.’s premature withdrawal from Iraq that caused the unrest in the Middle East.

But Paul said, “there is an argument to be made that Iraq is not really a country” and so attempting to stabilize it was futile.

“Yes, leaving troops might have helped stability, but it might also be that countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are not real countries and will devolve into tribal warfare, no matter how long we stay,” he said.

And unlike Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-Texas), a fellow potential presidential contender who spoke before Paul on Fox and roundly criticized the president, Paul seemed to find some agreement with Obama.

Like Obama emphasized in his remarks, Paul argued that ISIS is not a “true” form of Islam.

“The ultimate war, the long war, whoever knows how long, ultimately is going to need allies from civilized Islam. So, I think it is important not only to the American public, but for the world and for the Islamic world to point out that this is not a true form of Islam,” he said.

“This is a barbaric form that should not represent most of the civilized Islamic world.”

Those comments were met with criticism from conservatives on Twitter, who were surprised the senator found common ground with the president.

Paul also called for the Islamic world to “step up” to combat radical Islam extremists.

But he offered sharp criticism of the president’s declaration that he would launch a military effort without seeking congressional approval if he has to.

“It isn’t the constitutional way,” Paul said. “It is unconstitutional, what he’s doing.”