Speaking at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, the Senator from Vermont cited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, connecting American domestic strength with the country’s ability to defend itself at home and around the world.
"I'm not running to pursue reckless adventures abroad," Sanders said, "but to rebuild America's strength at home. I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will never send our sons and daughters to war under false pretense or pretenses or into dubious battles with no end in sight."
Sanders extended his condolences to the victims of the recent terror attacks perpetrated by the Islamic State in Paris and Lebanon, as well as those who died when an alleged IS bomb exploded on a Russian airliner.
"To my mind, it is clear that the United States must pursue policies to destroy the brutal and barbaric ISIS regime, and to create conditions that prevent fanatical extremist ideologies from flourishing. But we cannot – and should not – do it alone."
Sanders called for the creation of an international organization, similar to NATO, which is dedicated to addressing the global security threats of the 21st century.
"While individual nations indeed have historic disputes – the US and Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia – the time is now to put aside those differences to work towards a common purpose of destroying ISIS," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pushing for a grand military coalition – one that would include intelligence sharing – aimed at defeating IS. Washington has been leery of joining such a coalition.
Calling the fight against IS "a struggle for the soul of Islam," Sanders said that countering violent extremism and destroying the terror group must be done primarily by Muslim nations – backed by the militaries and political systems of other nations.
"The bottom line is that ISIS must be destroyed, but it cannot be defeated by the United States alone. A new and effective coalition must be formed with the Muslim nations leading the effort on the ground, while the United States and other major forces provide the support they need."