Tesla’s CEO-turned-geopolitical-influencer agrees with analysis that taking over Ukraine’s Crimea region from Russia, one of Kyiv’s goals, is “dangerous” and “unrealistic.”
“Qui aime bien châtie bien,” goes a French proverb of Latin and biblical origin — ‘Qui bene amat, bene castigat.’
The saying basically means tough love.
In friendship, it would amount to telling your friends truths that others would not dare say, because these truths can sometimes be hurtful. Loving your friends is also not sparing them, even if you press where it hurts.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report, the founder of SpaceX and the owner of Twitter, has made this maxim his own, in his complex relationship with Ukraine, the country of which he has been the biggest individual supporter since the start of the war with Russia on February 2022.
Musk v. Critics
The billionaire, through SpaceX, provides Starlink to the country. Starlink is a secure and independent satellite internet access system that has become the means of communication for millions of Ukrainians and the army on the front lines.
It is, thus, not surprising that Musk is treated like an enemy by the Russians, given that Starlink has undermined the Russian communication plan to control the narrative of this war, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who intended to bring about a regime change in Kyiv.
However, Musk has not withheld his opinions vis-à-vis Ukraine. Since October, the richest man in the world continues to iterate that there is no better outcome in this war than peace, which would avoid disastrous consequences for Ukraine and the world .
This peace, according to the four-point proposal he made on Oct. 3, requires Ukraine to make important concessions to Russia and its warmongering president. The proposal met with unanimous rejection from Ukraine and its allies.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany told Musk to “f*** off” in a tweet.
Ukraine supporters were saying that the billionaire had become an ally for Putin.
“Which @elonmusk do you like more?” the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked on Twitter, with choices: “One who supports Ukraine” and “One who supports Russia.”
Musk Attacks US Diplomats
Musk has withdrawn his proposal, but has continued to advocate negotiations between the two sides, despite the fact that Zelensky and the allies believe that resisting Putin and defeating Russia is essential, because it would reassert the primacy of democracy and discourage other autocrats to invade independent countries with impunity.
So, the rhetoric has mounted on both sides as the conflict entered its second year. This scenario of an endless war has prompted Musk in recent weeks to accuse U.S. diplomats of warmongering.
“The diplomats want war and the warriors want peace,” the billionaire tweeted on Feb. 27, commenting on a tweet saying that the generals believe that the White House should encourage the Ukrainians to come to the negotiating table with Russia.
The diplomats pushed back.
“So, this is not about us. This is about choices that Vladimir Putin has made to try to bite off pieces of his neighbor,” replied the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Nuland. “And if we allow this as the United States, if we don’t support the victim in this aggression, then this aggression will be replicated all over the planet in the years to come.”
The billionaire seems convinced that one of the most important objectives pursued by Zelensky is unrealistic. It’s about taking back Crimea, a Ukrainian region which has been occupied by Russia since 2014.
Musk even seems to be of the opinion that pursuing this objective is dangerous, because Putin will do anything to keep control of this strategic region for Russia. In any case, this is what transpires from one of his tweets agreeing with the conclusions of MSNBC on Zelensky’s strategy.
It all started with a tweet from tech investor David Sacks, a great friend of the billionaire, highlighting a video from MSNBC/NBC.
“Breaking: NBC News / MSNBC concedes that Zelensky’s goal of retaking Crimea is unrealistic and dangerous,” Sacks wrote on March 1, with a link to the video.
To which, Musk replied with a single word: “Accurate.”
In the video, a special correspondent in Crimea is asked about how “realistic” is Zelensky’s vow to take advantage of the war to retake Crimea, since most people living in the region consider themselves Russians.
“From those people that we spoke to it seemed unrealistic,” the reporter on the ground said. “I want to show you some new pictures that we filmed yesterday.”
“This is the closest that any U.S. news crew has got to the Russian Black Sea Fleet in many years. What you’re seeing here are President Putin’s ships at that port. Why it’s important is because Vladimir Putin will be determined to defend that port, to not have it taken away from him. He may well do pretty much anything to try to achieve that, and the reason why is because it is so strategically important to Russia.”
The reporter continued: “So it is a very very dangerous standoff, that suggest that this could pan out for some time to come. It’s hard to see how you reach a negotiation over that.”
He added that Crimea “is a military town,” therefore “when Victoria Nuland talks about ‘at the very least we want Crimea to be demilitarized,’ I found myself standing there and wondering how on earth does that happen?”
Agreeing with the journalist’s analysis, Musk is unsurprisingly consistent with the idea that Ukraine is not an entirely innocent actor in this war either.