Just recently in a previous article, we wrote about how Republican sympathizer billionaire Elon Musk entered a kind of “election campaign” and began actively criticizing the policies of incumbent President Joe Biden, including the military and political aid to Ukraine. Almost immediately, Democratic Congressman Adam Kinzinger threatened Musk with a “national security” investigation over suspicions that the businessman wanted to disable the Starlink satellite system, which is actively used by Ukraine in combat operations against Russian troops. The whole thing has caused such a strong political backlash that in the last couple of weeks, Elon Musk has managed to actually shut down Starlink. Because of this, he has been so severely obstructed by the Democratic White House administration, that he had to turn back on his satellite system, so indispensable to the Joe Biden-friendly regime in Kiev. As we suggested earlier, there is a strong suspicion that this is far from the end of the confrontation between Elon Musk and the Biden administration. However, everything should be discussed in order.
At the beginning, by building on his media success, Musk continued to hit Biden where it hurts. The key topic remained Ukraine, where the Democrat government seeks to fight to the point of exhaustion and the last drop of blood – whether from Russian, Ukrainians, EU residents or Americans themselves – it is hard to say. The billionaire once again frightened everyone with the threat of nuclear war if things do not move towards reconciliation in Ukraine in defiance of White House aspirations. He expressed the opinion that the Third World War could start if Russia loses Crimea, and that humanity should in general stop aiming nuclear weapons as soon as possible. Musk is convinced that every year there is a chance that nuclear weapons will be launched, and he highlighted the fact that there is currently the highest risk of catastrophe in the last 60 years. He also believes that reaching a compromise on Crimea is the most likely outcome of the confrontation between Russia and the West in Ukraine, which would avoid escalation. Musk did not forget to attack the Democrats’ failed domestic economic policies, saying that U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) interest rates are too high, hitting businesses hard, and in such circumstances the economy will be in recession until spring 2024.
Musk’s next blow came against Ukraine and its officials, who fiercely lashed out at his peacemaking Twitter posts in early October – perhaps out of “patriotic” considerations, but most likely after a request from the Biden administration. Particular “fury” in terms of revenge against Musk was shown by the odious former Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, who profaned the entrepreneur, called Tesla electric cars produced by Musk “junk” and promised a complete boycott of his products by his compatriots. As a result, Musk’s response did not take only an informational form, but also quite tangible one: Starlink, which everyone was so much worried about, did fall. On October 14, SpaceX announced that it could no longer pay for maintenance of the satellite communication system in Ukraine and asked the Pentagon to take over the costs. The official motivations were strictly commercial – the sunk costs of such altruism “in the name of democracy” had already cost the company $80 million and were expected to exceed $100 million by the end of this year. Nevertheless, Musk did not lose the opportunity to mock his Ukrainian opponents and explained that he was only turning off Starlink following Andrij Melnyk’s advice to “go to hell”. The Ukrainian administration optimistically and proudly declared that they would figure out how to keep Starlink running without the sneaky Musk’s humanitarian help, but in reality, it was officials not in Kiev but in Washington that started saving Ukraine with fierce fury and with all their might.
We don’t know exactly what happened after 14 October, but Musk’s rhetoric has slowly begun to change. We sincerely sympathize with his civic position. However, we cannot help but note the political vulnerabilities in his business. For most of his fans and supporters he is a genius and visionary of the future and owner of two hyper successful companies, Tesla and SpaceX. The former is profitable because of the public’s manic pull towards “green energy”, where people want to ride in vehicles that don’t pollute the environment, an obvious myth and populism. The second is based on the testing of advanced military technologies in the civilian sphere, created by the efforts of the entire public sector and the military-industrial complex under its control. Not surprisingly, at just the exact moment that very same military-industrial complex for SpaceX found the right arguments why Starlink for Ukraine should remain free. At first, Musk began to negotiate indirectly with the Department of Defense and hinted that the cost of Internet service Starlink for Ukraine does not exceed the cost of one new satellite GPS and it is not so much money for the American state. He also wrote that Russia was actively trying to “destroy” the Starlink system in Ukraine, and that the system might stop working despite the resources invested in protecting it. But military officials only coldly stated that the Pentagon was negotiating with Musk on this issue and made it clear that they would not make concessions. Reinforcing their confidence was the fact that the White House was seriously considering subjecting Musk’s deals to national security scrutiny amid his statements on Ukraine and Starlink, an idea that went beyond marginal proposals in the House of Representatives or the Senate. In the end, it was the Pentagon’s insistence that succeeded.
The “outage” of Starlink in Ukraine didn’t last more than 24 hours, and as early as on 15 October Musk announced on Twitter that he would continue to fund the maintenance of the satellite system. However, he accompanied this with a tendentious comment clearly indicating that he was doing so far from his own volition. The visionary wrote on Twitter: “The hell with it… even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free”. Obviously, this decision was unfriendly to the U.S. government, and there is reason to believe that this is just part of an aggressive campaign against Musk that is just beginning – after all, the outcome of the 2024 presidential election is at stake.
The well-known Fox News host Tucker Carlson thinks so too. In his opinion, Musk is trying to let people say what they really think, but the ruling elites do not like it, so the U.S. Department of Justice is now investigating the businessman for reasons that no one can even name. Carlson believes that democratic elites are trying to intimidate people with criminal cases to gain their obedience and want to destroy entrepreneur Elon Musk after his statement about stopping the free service of the Starlink system in Ukraine. And these are far from empty words as well-known liberal journalist David Frum has even proposed to simply nationalize Starlink. Furthermore, Musk’s problems are not just confined to the Ukrainian issue over his satellite system and his desire to buy the social network Twitter is no less alarming. Personal threats, online smear campaigns and numerous federal investigations regarding Elon Musk will now become a regular occurrence, and he will have to get into the skin of former President Donald Trump. The U.S. administration has triumphantly and mockingly announced that it welcomes Elon Musk’s announcement that he is willing to continue funding the Starlink satellite communications system in Ukraine. Musk, in response to statements from the Pentagon about a possible payment for Starlink services, said that he “was no longer asking for money from the U.S. military department and that SpaceX had already withdrawn its request for funding”. But it’s too early for Biden and company to celebrate their victory – Musk has a grudge and is clearly preparing a sharp and aggressive retaliatory strike. The show must go on!