Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s top counter-terrorism official from 2009 to 2012, said he believed that the dispute was a “pseudo-controversy” driven largely by domestic politics, even if it has produced some clumsy moments in the White House press room. What the debate has missed, he said, is that any American president has to think about how his words are received overseas.
“Our allies against ISIS in the region are out there every day saying, ‘This is not Islam,’ ” said Mr. Benjamin, now at Dartmouth. “We don’t want to undermine them. Any good it would do to trumpet ‘Islamic radicalism’ would be overwhelmed by the damage it would do to those relationships.”
--- New York Times (18 February 2015)