Rubio: ISIS is what happens 'when America walks away'

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is accusing President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats try to turn now into November The Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump On The Trail: Trump, coronavirus fuel unprecedented voter enthusiasm MORE of advancing a foreign policy of "isolationism.” 

Obama's speech Wednesday could be a departure, Rubio said, but he chastised the president for using counterterrorism operations in Yemen and Somalia to frame the debate about destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  

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"The long-term threat posed by the Islamic State is much greater than that posed by al-Shabab or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post. "If we are serious, as the president said, about ultimately destroying the Islamic State, we cannot rule anything out."

Rubio, a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, blasted the "Obama/Clinton" policies in Syria for allowing ISIS to flourish.

"Five and a half years of the Obama/Clinton worldview has given Americans a graphic and often horrific view of the chaos that is unleashed in the world when America walks away from its traditional role as the guarantor of global security," he wrote.  

Rubio maintains Clinton, a potential rival in 2016, owns the administration decisions made during her time at the State Department. 

"She and other administration officials who found their voices only after they left office were complicit in implementing and publicly defending the president’s disastrous foreign policies — and we’ll be dealing with the consequences for decades to come," Rubio wrote. 

Since leaving the administration, Clinton has said she unsuccessfully advocated for bolstering vetted Syrian rebel groups early on. She said recently the administration's "failure" to help build up a force led to a vacuum filled by ISIS. 

Rubio also took a veiled shot at other GOP rivals, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for helping advocate what he said is a policy of "global retreat."

“Members of my own Republican Party have also at times embraced the Democrats’ narrative that too much American leadership is the problem, rather than the solution to global instability,” he wrote.

In his op-ed, Rubio advocated for many of the policies outlined in Obama’s Wednesday speech, including an expanding the U.S. air campaign, training and equipping vetted rebel groups in Syria, and getting allies in the region on board. 

He called ISIS “perhaps the most extreme, powerful and capable terrorist group ever.”

Rubio also called for a renewed commitment to the military budget, taking a shot at some Republicans for pushing round after round of defense cuts.