The firebrand communications expert pushing out combative messages for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was not always a politically-motivated shock jock. Not too many years ago Christina Pushaw published reasoned, thoughtful analysis on Russia and two nations Vladimir Putin wanted to control.
Pushaw’s academic background prepared her for her role as analyst and political advisor. She graduated with an MA from the elite European & Eurasian Studies program at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Pushaw even served as an advisor to politicians, including Mikheil Saakashvili, a former president of Georgia, a Black Sea nation that sits at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. In a 2020 article in The National Interest, Pushaw lauded the newly minted president of Ukraine for nominating Saakashvili to a powerful position. She was pleased that Volodymry Zelensky, a political newcomer, outsider and former actor, wanted Saakashvili to serve in a prominent economic position.
But the nomination failed when Saakashvili did not get enough support from the ruling political party in Ukraine.
Pushaw also had kind words for Zelensky, whom she felt vaulted to power in part because he was not beholden to the corrupt class that drained Ukraine of economic opportunity and the integrity needed to mount a defense against Russian aggression.
When Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky nominated Mikheil Saakashvili to serve in his cabinet as vice prime minister for reform, pundits like Melinda Haring were quick to cry deja vu. True, this isn’t the ex-president of Georgia’s first rodeo in Ukraine. But there is reason to believe this one will turn out better than the last…
Enter Saakashvili. Zelensky sees a leading role for the Columbia-educated ex-president in negotiations with Ukraine’s international creditors. It’s not hard to understand why—during Saakashvili’s presidency, foreign investment in Georgia ballooned and GDP quadrupled. This transformation of Georgia was made possible by constructive cooperation with international financial institutions.
Compare and contrast these insights with the political jab she published on her Twitter account. According to a February column in Politico, “DeSantis’ press secretary — Christina Pushaw — did share her opinion. Pushaw, who once worked in neighboring Georgia and spent time in Ukraine, stated on Twitter that the “sad fact is the USA is in no position to ‘promote democracy’ abroad while our own country is falling apart.”
Really, Christina. I thought you believed in the integrity and independence of Ukrainian President Zelensky. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense for you to defer to the gutsy fellow who is leading his nation against an unprovoked invasion by a neighboring nuclear power?
For context, this is what Zelenksy says about the U.S., according to a Washington Post report:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, addressing Congress on Wednesday from a capital being attacked by Russian artillery fire and missiles, delivered a stark new plea for American military aid, making a moral case to hundreds of gathered lawmakers that the world’s preeminent superpower must do more to prevent his nation’s destruction.
In a 16-minute presentation, Zelensky cited the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — and played a searing video of the carnage inside Ukraine — as he sought to push President Biden and lawmakers to further action. He called on them to layer potent air-defense systems and new Russian financial sanctions on top of the military transfers, humanitarian aid and economic salvos that the United States has already delivered since Russia began bombarding Ukrainian cities last month.
I’m sorry Pushaw thinks the United States is “falling apart”. However, it is clear Zelensky views us differently.
In her Twitter post, Pushaw seems to blame her change of heart on the way some American politicians handled the start of the Covid crisis, which has killed nearly 1 million people here in about two years. This is her full comment:
Pre 2020, I was an idealist who truly wanted to help Ukraine become a strong democracy. I spent a lot of time in Ukraine, still have friends there I worry about now. But the sad fact is the USA is in no position to “promote democracy” abroad while our own country is falling apart
An intelligent woman such as Pushaw surely knows that FDR propelled an isolated America into World War II during the Great Depression. No doubt some critics at that time believed the United States was also falling apart. Some may have even thought that we should not help fight off brutal assaults from Hitler and Japan.
But FDR, like President Joe Biden, sees a brighter future for our country. Part of that future, thanks to history, involves opposing an authoritarian leader with rapacious designs on other nations. The Biden Administration is sharing intelligence and weapons to arm Ukrainian Freedom Fighters.
Are Pushaw and other Americans who think like her part of a modern-day “Blame America First” crowd that was derided during the pro-democracy, pro-freedom Reagan Administration that Pushaw professes to love?