President Obama took advantage of a Senate recess Wednesday to appoint Philip Coyle as associate director for National Security and International Affairs. The recess appointment allowed the President to bypass the normal Senate confirmation process.
Mr. Coyle is widely known for his opposition to President Bush's proposal to deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
During an interview with a Russian news channel in 2008, Coyle was asked by the host what actions should be expected from Russia to prevent the U.S. from deploying a missile defense system in Europe. Incredibly and shockingly, Coyle responded by advising the Russians to put pressure on the U.S. not to deploy the defense shield.
"I think it's important for Russia to keep the pressure on the United States about these matters," Coyle said. "I think it's important for Russia to continue to stress that it's not acceptable to have these missile defenses deployed so close to its border, because if they work against Iran, they also work against Russia. If Russia just lets it go, then people in the United States say 'well, Russia doesn't care anymore, so we can go ahead and deploy these systems'."
The host was apparently quite happy with Coyle's reply and he continued to goad him on: "When you say it's important that Russia keeps up the pressure, does it mean... building more missiles [that Russia should build more missiles], or do you just mean words? Because Russian reaction can be different. There may be a reaction from the side of the diplomat, from the side of the military, from the side of the engineers and the best minds in Russia, who as you said should be worried by the possibility that the system will work. What kind of countermeasures would you expect from Moscow?"
Another panelist interjected himself into the conversation before Coyle had a chance to answer the question. But clearly the host - and probably the Russian government - appreciated Mr. Coyle's heartfelt advice.
Which leads me to believe that President Obama acted wisely when he chose to circumvent the senate confirmation hearing for Mr. Coyle.....