Elon Musk had amazing success building electric vehicles and launching rockets. But just because you’re the richest person in the world doesn’t mean you can solve every problem in the world.
usk proved this with his unhelpful tweet on Monday afternoon, outlining his personal peace plan for Ukraine:
“- Repeat the elections of the annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia goes if that is the will of the people.
“- Crimea has been formally a part of Russia since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
“– Water supply of Crimea secured.
“- Ukraine remains neutral.”
There is so much ignorance and deception here to unpack that Twitter will be busy with it for days to come. In fact, both the President and Foreign Minister of Ukraine have already tweeted against Musk’s superficial attempt to give away part of their country. The reaction of one parody account is hard to beat: “Elon Musk incriminates Russia/Ukraine as he is an expert on failed takeover attempts.”
At the risk of feeding Musk’s insatiable love of attention—and that’s the point here—it’s worth pointing out that what he’s proposing is neither practical nor moral.
Russia has invaded Ukraine and, under international law, is not allowed to hold referendums on which country Ukrainians want to belong to, regardless of whether the election is monitored by the United Nations or not. That would be like invading Alaska and calling for a referendum on whether Alaskans want to be part of Russia again.
With so many people either killed or deported in the Russian-occupied territories, it’s not clear who would make up the electorate at all: would Ukrainians fleeing the Russian attack be allowed to vote? Ukrainians have already made their preference clear: more than 90 percent voted for independence in 1991 and well over 90 percent now support the war effort. We don’t need a referendum to know which country Ukrainians want to belong to: they show it by fighting for their freedom at great cost.
Oddly enough, given how much Musk is doing to help Ukraine with its Starlink satellite terminals, his half-baked tweet shows the insidious influence of Russian propaganda. Was it really a mistake by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to transfer Crimea, which was once part of the Russian Empire, to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954? The Russian dictator Vladimir Putin certainly thinks so too, but as early as 1991 a majority of Crimean residents voted for an independent Ukraine.
Support for independence was lower in Crimea (54 percent) than in the rest of the country due to the large ethnic Russian population, but this referendum had infinitely more legitimacy than the sham vote Putin staged in 2014 to justify his annexation of Crimea. The European Union and the US do not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea – why should Musk?
As for the last part of Musk’s peace plan, Ukraine has always been neutral unless NATO accepted it as a member. That didn’t stop Putin from invading again in 2014 or 2022. Why would a Ukrainian commitment to neutrality prevent further Russian aggression in the future? In March, Kyiv actually offered to remain neutral if it would bring peace – but it didn’t work.
Of course, I’m only scratching the surface of the problems with Musk’s proposal, which ignores the fact that Putin has just annexed four regions of Ukraine where his troops are rapidly losing ground. Last Friday, the Russian dictator said: “The people who live in Luhansk and Donetsk, in Kherson and Zaporizhia have become our citizens forever.”
What makes Musk think Putin would back away from that promise just because people in those regions voted to remain a part of Ukraine? Putin has never respected the outcome of democracy in Russia, Ukraine or anywhere else. (In fact, his speech last Friday included a lengthy complaint about how awful democracy is.)
While Musk obviously knows little about Ukraine, I believe his intentions are good: it’s painful to watch as the war rages on, costing many lives, and it’s frightening to hear Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons. This can lead to a natural impulse to “solve” the problem – to try to find a magical formula that satisfies both parties and brings peace. But if this formula had existed, it would have already been implemented.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/elon-musks-solution-for-peace-in-ukraine-is-little-more-than-a-staggering-display-of-ignorance-and-delusion-42040934.html Elon Musk’s “solution” to peace in Ukraine is little more than an overwhelming display of ignorance and deceit