How Elon Musk Became a Geopolitical Chaos Agent

Oct 26, 2022 · 313 comments
Lucy Cimino (Illinois)
We praise Elon Musk for bringing attention and making fair proposals for the solution of the major conflicts that we are facing on Earth. Our institutions are not doing enough to eliminate these conflicts in peaceful ways, as they should be eliminated, in the 21st century. Humans have evolved to levels of higher conscientiousness, control and understanding of their ability to make positive contributions on earth. The current conflict between Ukraine and Russia should not be occurring, at the current time of human's evolution. We do value human life. We understand all the time and efforts that are dedicated to the education of each human being, from the 9 months in the womb of a mother to the lifetime of educating by both parents, and continuous learning until they are sent to an armed conflict. All the death and destruction that has been occurring in this conflict can never be justified. A peaceful solution is needed immediately, and we thank Elon Musk for using his great leadership skills to this important issues for our future.
NorCal Rx (California)
@Lucy Cimino How is a plan that carves up an independent nation between an aggressive invader and the inoffensive people of the legitimate nation that was invaded praiseworthy. Are you willing to give up your state if Russia invades us? Not me.
Brad Lucas (Gatineau)
@Lucy Cimino A peaceful solution consists of what exactly? My guess is that you are proposing acceding to all of putin’s demands. Does he get territory or not?
G Masters (Frederick, MD)
Let all the flowers bloom and let all opinions find a voice. Then we can sort them out. Even those from Musk. He does not have to be right or even good to bring a view to our attention. Then the following discussion can inform all. And that is what I like.
TA Morrison (Corning CA)
Musk has developed SpaceX, Tesla, Giga Battery Factories, Starlink and is resourcing battery raw materials. And we, "America" , which has a dysfunctional economic and political system are concerned with his eccentric rantings and ideas. We need more Elons, just like we also need more Steve Jobs. Yeah, are you enjoying your smart phone? If you don't drive a Tesla, where can you get your electric car charged?
Max (Downeast Maine)
The guy shouldn't be leaning against his own country all the time. And where were you when he insulted all American workers, and everything else to do with America? If it's so bad, the Govt, or anything anyone can say, then how did he flourish so much? Would it be easier somewhere else to make the fortunes he did like he did here somewhere else? It's sad nowadays people don't know what's good for them, even someone who's supposedly smart. Poor baby, doesn't like regulations, or taxes. Well, all those types, Conservatives, sure liked all the cash they got from the American consumer, and the American market. Wake up people.
M Ford (USA)
Elon Musk has done more than I can to help Ukraine, support world peace, support free speech, provide charity to people in need, develop green technology and explore outer space. The problem that he suffers is that he is an individual, a free thinker. The Democrats don't like him because he supports peace, freedom, civil rights and the environment. He accomplishes things despite every effort of the Democrats and the liberal media to stop him. He has grandstanded the Democrats on their platform by delivering on their goals while they talk. To avoid embarrassment and ridicule for the failures, the Democrats try to turn it around and act like he is doing something wrong. The Democrats have made it clear that they want no peace with Russia or China. They want war and anybody that doesn't is their enemy. They want free stuff. Anyone that refuses to pay for it or threatens to stop paying for it is their enemy. They want free speech censored, especially from their political opponents, making civil rights leaders their enemy. This is why people are increasingly voting anti-progressives out of the government and letting forward movers in office.
Art (An island in the Pacific)
@M Ford At the moment, the things you ascribe to him, peace and freedom, appear to be at odds in Russia's war on Ukraine. Tell us, how do you think Musk will reconcile those opposed ideas?
Alexander (Charlotte, NC)
I'm an admirer of Musk, but reading his latest social media post is often done with a sinking feeling. However, at the end of the day, Musk is subsidizing Ukraine's war effort with Starlink-- when was the last time Raytheon, Lockheed, or Boeing did anything without being paid in advance and in full (and usually with a huge cost overrun at taxpayer expense)? Musk deserves 100% of the credit for the proliferation of electric vehicles-- even though others are getting into the act it is only because they are being forced to; if Tesla went under I believe that automakers would throw up their usual smokescreen about electrification being 20 years away indefinitely, and proceed to roll back the few electric vehicles they are producing, while bamboozling us with hybrid gimmicks. Also, can we talk about the fact that Starlink has no competition? No one else was even beginning to do this until Musk went ahead and did it. And then there's also the fact that every commercial satellite launch except for SpaceX is now corporate charity-- no one else has a reusable launch vehicle-- Boeing didn't do that, Musk did that with SpaceX, with no personal history and no company history; and in spite of that we are still paying Boeing for dead-end dinosaurs like SLS. Why are these companies giving out dividends instead of doing research? So people, please mete out your scorn accordingly-- remember automakers and defense contractors and give them 9 diatribes for every 1 you direct at Musk.
Sgt Schulz (Oz)
Why the fuss? He seems to be no more inept at foreign policy than the US establishment. And of course money has never been a consideration in how the US deals with the world. /s
Anil Rajput (.com)
If Hunter Biden and other unelected elites can lead us to a possibility of WW3, then Elon is a thousand times more competent to interfere in world politics. He is literally doing rocket science, which is never done by anyone before and his motivation is not money. There is a reason people trust him.
Helmut Wallenfels (Washington State)
@Anil Rajput You are giving Hunter Biden an awful lot of credit. I trust he is flattered.
Manfred (Vienna, VA)
Musk’s ideas, at least on Ukraine, make sense. As he has said, those parameters of a solution are very likely the best case end state. When western leaders are paralyzed into effectively destroying Ukraine while leading us into a nuclear war, I’m thankful for the uncensored views of this very smart billionaire. In addition, his views on free speech are what may save democracy. Even the censor with the best intentions is a censor, and then speech is no longer free, but a tool to be manipulated.
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
@Manfred You will be useful.
TK (Los Altos CA)
Pesky little man. Has the temerity to bring up peace terms. He acts as if he's paying for Ukraine's satellite communications. Oh wait...
Rafa (South Bend, IN)
I wish you would provide the specific Tweet for the Ukrainian peace plan, among other referenced tweets, it would add more legitimacy to your article.
Andy (San Francisco)
So on Ukraine I guess the only option is the Democrat position of perpetual war and provoking a nuclear superpower! No one is allowed to advocate for a peaceful resolution.
David H (Northern Va.)
The only reason Ukraine is under siege at the moment is because the US has spent 30 years mucking around in its military affairs. Musk's advice is sound. Give Russia the buffer that it seeks. Had the US kept out of Ukraine, this would not even be an issue today.
Jay Roberts (Westchester, NY)
Relevant to the current case is a rather similar if obscure historical example. If I recall, and the details are a bit hazy because the incident only led to a global conflict and so has received little historical scrutiny, the Western powers agreed to cede some place called the “Sudetenland”, belonging to a smaller, weaker state, to an unstable autocratic dictator, and again, if memory serves, the resolution signally did not secure “peace in our time”. The lesson Putin learns (although he may well be too far gone to learn lessons these days) cannot be that violating neighbors’ sovereignty will be rewarded with territorial concessions. The major powers have spent the last 75 years at least paying lip service to the idea that we don’t, as a world, invade other people’s countries to resolve disputes. As much as nations have failed to live up to these ideals (the US among them), I really don’t want to live in a world where we discard the concept entirely, sorry.
Helmut Wallenfels (Washington State)
@David H You can never appease a dictator who thinks he is on a roll.
MPA (Indiana)
Why is that? Because he is trying to bring peace to the region, while you people just want more Ukrainians killed and made homeless, so you can stick to Russia?
Douglas Shane (Vermont)
Bob Dylan's line, "Money doesn't talk -it swears," applies to Musk and his foolish remarks!
R.Kenney (Oklahoma)
Mr. Musk should stick to electic vehicles and space travel and let people in other countries decide how they want to live.
Lois (Minnesota)
So Elon the Flake has decided playing god is his shiny new toy. He is a walking example of failed tax systems. Billionaires destroy democracies.
Andy (Minneapolis)
Tesla is currently under criminal investigation due to their self driving claim, yet the Times focus remains this sort of light "news" about Musk the personality. It's like reading ad copy for this wealthy heir who seems to need all the attention.
Ricardo (France)
The best we all and the media can do is to ignore this individual. He is a narcissist, abuser, drug addict, fantasist, and also likely to head for bankruptcy eventually.
angela (IA)
Mr. Musk reminds me of that one white guy in class who always had the answer. He'd go with his idea, succeed smugly, while ignoring suggestions or partnerships that would ensure a greater good. Musk read too much Ayn Rand and made it gospel.
Kevin Cahill (87106)
Musk is right about Ukraine. Biden should find a diplomatic solution.
Louise Wisechild (Seattle)
Make him pay taxes. It is absurd that he has this power.
Diogenespdx (Portland OR)
“His critics — and there are many — worry that it is difficult to separate Mr. Musk’s opinions from his business interests, “ Sign me up. And it is not difficult - There is no separation. And he is the second richest man. Vlad is by far and away, first. Eventually the world will weary of these megaillionaires, but until then they will wreak their wroth on the world. The only question is how much misery will they spread until too much becomes ENOUGH ! Who knew Absolute Money corrupted so Absolutely. Oh, for the days of Carnegie. At least he built libraries around the World to spread knowledge and understanding. Instead of these Robber MegaCaudillos who bomb libraries into oblivion and try to asymmetrically steal humanity itself from humankind.
Pat Boice (Teton Valley, ID)
At what point does Musk's foreign affairs meddling become a chargeable offense?
Randy (Los Angeles)
I knew there was a reason I didn’t care to buy a Tesla. Soon to be fire sold alongside Ye Adidas?
Marco (Singapore)
Elon Musk should mind his own business, quite literally. Geopolitics are no place for someone like him.
The only reason he has any power politically is that WE listen to him, and the PRESS obsesses over him. Whose fault is that?
Mark McIntyre (Los Angeles)
What is it about billionaire$ they think they know everything? Just like Trump, Elon acts impulsively on ego and the belief "only I can do it." Twitter should be interesting if/when Musk takes over. With little or no moderation, sounds as if it will be more like a 4chan food fight.
Jay (Central Europe)
A brilliant man in some areas. A victim of the Dunning-Kruger Effect in others. Including history, diplomacy and international politics. 
Rick Morris (Montreal)
Knowing how to build cars or space ships doesn’t necessarily make one smart.
Steve (Moraga ca)
When will that other free spirit whose opinions are offered without any filter or forethought, Ye, team up with Musk? Elon can certainly afford to buy Gap (market cap under $4 billion) with spare change under his couch cushions, thus giving Ye somewhere to sell his togs.
MM (New York)
Democrats need their version of Musk — obviously with a different bent.
Nash Reiter (Chicago)
Why do Musk and Trump need so much attention? Spoiled children.
Ken Double (Wellington, New Zealand)
This year we passed on a Model 3 and bought a Hyundai instead. Because of Musk. We can’t be the only ones. At what point do Tesla’s board figure he’s become a net drag on the brand, especially now his suicidal investment in Twitter is going to be leveraged with Tesla stock?
Jk (Cambridge)
or that its in an entirely different category than and costs say 25 grand more with autodrive
Sears, Roebuck & Company — The HuMINT (Shipping, Receiving, and Mechanized Inventory Control)
The rein in Ukraine falls mainly on Musk’s brain…! The fact that he has been documented as smoking weed should disqualify him from U. S. Government contracts like with satellite, space launching and exploration, (Space X), and selling vehicles, as with Tesla, to the D. O. T., and the D o D, as well as state laws…!
It, weed, was legal in California, and it was obvious that it was his first time, probably last. Disqualify him from everything? Who are you, a throwback to the Reagan years.
Michael Conroy (Chicago)
Musk is a geopolitical chaos agent because he has no allegiance to anything other than personal wealth. He is an anti-patriot. This is not to say that he is a traitor. To my knowledge, he has done nothing to aid and abet our enemies. But make no mistake about it: if he has to choose between money and country, the former will win every time.
Julia (Bay Area)
How these narcissists can operate without a scintilla of self-doubt is just mind boggling. "Only I can ." If you hear these words out of someone's mouth, run.
Bill H (Florida)
I can't wait to see the Bond movie.
What a mess (US)
Musk is a grandstander that doesn't seem to care if he puts people in peril as long as he looks good, and increasingly he looks very very bad. He didn't need to announce to the world his 'good deeds'. I'm expecting his Twitter buyout to be a colossal failure in the long run and Tesla could face a steep decline in sales. Just like Trump, Musk seems to care about himself and his image more than anything else. His previous empathetic tones seem to have been disingenuous.
Art (An island in the Pacific)
Musk is very easily manipulated. As Fiona Hill observes, he is, wittingly or unwittingly, carrying messages from Putin, even as he reluctantly allows Ukraine to use Starlink. Musk's management style is autocratic. He has autocratic sympathies. What strikes as odd is how cheaply those with autocratic tendencies can be bought. All it took was a "sweet note" and 20 bottles of vodka for 80-something Italian billionaire and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to wax romantic for Putin.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
How about we nationalized starling the way Russia nationalized Ukraines Nuclear plant and the way China Nationalizes companies there. Good for the goose, good for the gander.
Moore Waite (Massachusetts)
Consider this man delivering the official response to the inevitable failure of a SpaceX mission. It will happen statistically (the shuttle rate was something like 1:50 launches). It won’t be Reagan or Bush healing the country but citizen Musk, who can’t be bothered to reflect before tweeting how Ukraine is behind on paying (the American people’s) his internet bill between its exhuming mass graves on TV.
citicrab (Chicago, IL)
@Moore Waite He hasn't said that. He asked US government to chip in, then retracted that. Ukraine didn't pay a penny for Starlink. Musk gave the service to Ukraine at the most critical time, and it's been as vital for them as any weapons system. There is no alternative to it. Musk is not a statesman, just a uniquely gifted technologist, and businessman.
Mark Hall (Kraków Poland)
Trump has shown us that money is all it takes for any loon to have an audience.. of course a reality tv show helps too..
ESWinterble (Orlando, FL)
How did a man with the emotional intelligence of an infant get to be the richest man in the world? I know 2 year olds with more self-control. Just asking?
Charles Becker (Politically Non-binary)
It's simple: he's bold, smart, and he creates incredible stuff. Look at who his Starlink satellite system covers: While politicians posture and gesticulate about our foreign policy Musk actually does something about it. That's why some people don't like him.
Carl! (NJ)
@Charles Becker What has Musk ever created? All he does is buy companies and run his mouth.
Lynn (NJ)
@Charles Becker Yeah, it has nothing to do with how creepy he is
Uji10jo (Canada)
He is far from a "stable genius" Engineering expert is not necessarily superior in ethics. Scary.
Carl! (NJ)
@Uji10jo Duder's not even an engineer. Just a trust fund kid who buys companies from actual innovators.
EC (New Jersey)
Elon Musk couldn't hold a candle to Timothy Snyder: @TimothyDSnyder Elon Musk seems to be censoring Ukrainians–denying them communications in parts of their own country–because they are defending themselves from a Russian regime that routinely imprisons people for speech. I guess his 'free speech absolutism' means the opposite of what I thought.
Dquixote (LaMancha)
He has obscene amount of money - more than many countries. He had accomplished amazing things many times (Tesla, space flight and tunnel boring) so what's left to challenge him and his "on the Spectrum" behavior? Twitter, of course and as much geopolitical chaos as his aberrant mind can concoct. Musk may be a genius at certain engineering things, but NOT as a politician or a leader. He is unstable, prone to erratic behavior at a whim and almost untouchable due to his wealth. THAT is a very dangerous combination. I would be happy to see him dedicate his efforts to our democracy, but that is not likely. He lives inn his own world and, I do not think, truly understands what a true democracy is. In HIS world, he is n absolute ruler, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Naive Elder Millennial (New York City)
Vote “radical left” and let the conservative structure of our government rein in the excesses. This Gilded Age train will not stop until an international disaster forces us to do the above.
Dan (Seattle)
I think he just wants attention. Apparently being super rich isn’t enough for him.
Donna E. Mobile (New York)
@Dan Oh I am not so sure his motives are that benign. He has a Napoleon complex, doubtless. In one Tik Tok excerpt of an interview, he drawled this corker: “Sex without procreation is just . . . silly!” He also suddenly announced plans to support Ron De Santis for President; without consulting his own government and really with not any mastery of international policy, he is attempting to create an image of a globetrotting peacemaker and negotiator. This is someone who is itching to exert power over the huddled masses of our teeming shores, and perhaps one day become emporer of all the planets!
G Masters (Frederick, MD)
@Dan = Most of us, if not all, want attention. Why not?
iAmNahani (United States of America)
@G Masters I think not. Of course I'm not of the tik tok generation.
Neelam101 (Columbus OH)
These facts demonstrate why internet access --including cell phone traffic-- should be treated as a *public good* that is highly regulated by the US Govt. Better still, the service should be *provided* by the US Govt. After all, much of the technology may be directly attributed to work done by government scientists and engineers or in private labs (such as Bell Labs) that were heavily funded by the US Govt.
Charles Becker (Politically Non-binary)
@Neelam101, We had a highly regulated public good that provided a telephone at the end of a twisted-pair copper cable to every home in America. No cell phones. No public access to the Internet. No email (WHY didn't the USPS develop and deploy a national email system? They couldn't...). Other nations can have public utility systems because they are small and coherent: their citizens like, for example, being Singaporeans. Not so among we Americans.
G Masters (Frederick, MD)
@Neelam101 = Common carrier, like the telephone, and no content regulation.
Tim (Vermont)
I have incredible respect for Musk's engineering capability and management ability in so many disruptive technologies. That said, his engineering gifts do not extend into geopolitical analysis. Respectfully, Musk would do himself a favor by keeping his mouth closed more often.
@Tim Agreed. Please, Elon, focus on the tech, less so geopolitics. I hope owning Twitter will mean he uses it less. If only!
Helmut Wallenfels (Washington State)
@Tim Musk is another embodiment of the Peter Principle: we all rise to the level where we become incompetent.
Why is it that so many who are outraged by Big Oil, Big Pharma, a particular political party, or corporate America in general, nonetheless give a pass to -- even admire -- such a huge threat as Elon Musk? One person worth 1/4 trillion (yes, trillion with a T) dollars is more of a danger to America than are all the Twitterati put together, as well as Twitter itself. If Musk decides to spend his money opposing abortion, supporting restrictive voting laws, or buying an AK47 for every member of the Republican Party, there is nothing to stop him. With his money Musk can actually finance Russia's effort to take over much of Ukraine, which he has advocated. But that's nothing compared to the influence (i.e. bought politicians, businesses, clergy) he can wield over the life of everyday Americans. Whether it's elections, zoning variances, or laws and regulations to advance his own whims, fantasies, and economic interests, he can buy them. With chump change. An example of how Musk operates: in New Mexico, for instance, Tesla has moved onto Pueblo land, so as to avoid having to obey state laws and regulations. As to Musk and Twitter: I have no interest in addicting, often destructive, gossip-promoting vehicles, such as Twitter. Those who are interested can fight it out among themselves. Twitter is simply an inevitable aspect of the world's one truly democratic weapon of mass destruction: the internet.
Jim (Bay Area)
@HOOZON FIRST Hold on HOOZON FIRST, the Internet has given a voice to the public, not to Elon Musk.
RAC (Florida)
@Charles Becker Wrong! He has money and in the US that buys politicians.
Charles Becker (Politically Non-binary)
@HOOZON FIRST, Unlike with the government, you get to make the decision whether Musk can touch your life or not.
MT (LosAngeles)
Give up a piece of Ukraine, surrender some sovereignty in Taiwan... it's just moving pawns on a chessboard for people like Mr. Musk, who has bigger fish to fry. The fate and freedom of millions of people? They only matter, if at all, to the extent they impact Mr. Musk's market share and product line.
RAC (Florida)
@David H Tell that to Ukrainians that have never wanted to be ruled by Moscow.
Charles Justice (Prince Rupert, BC)
@David H If the U.S. wasn't being the world's cop than nuke wielding war-criminals like Putin would be running the show. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good!
David H (Northern Va.)
@MT Ukraine and Taiwan would not be issues were it not for US meddling and mucking around in areas that are well outside our sphere of influence.
Money and technical entrepreneurship doesn’t qualify him to be a geopolitical expert. He needs to be reigned in. He is the worst example of money and opinions running amok. The curse of social media.
MSPWEHO (West Hollywood, CA)
Mark my words--this won't end well. Musk is a scourge on society. We all know it. And his continued influence will manifest as worse things to come.
Anna (Sweden)
Unequal societies are proven to be much worse for people’s mental health. Not only for the poor but also the rich! You can see it clearly that there are such mental health issues for powerful people like Ye, Putin, Trump and Musk. Being world where everyone treat you like a God is just not good for you!
Verna (Minnesota)
I love how Musk whines about starlink losing money. It is so disingenuous of him. Starlink is a business venture where the goal is to have 42,000 satellites by mid 2027. Like any business venture, it has large upfront costs. He doesn’t expect it to be profitable for years, but then he’ll have a big huge monopoly. And right now many Ukrainians are paying for starlink. Musk bills them. It simply isn’t profitable yet. This guy is not a Robin Hood. He is the future AT&T monopoly.
Wordsworth from Wadsworth (New Wye, Apalachia)
Musk has all the success and money that anyone could ever dream of. He smokes dope on camera, he does an embarrassing turn on SNL, and now he is perpetually meddling in world affairs as a plutocrat. Musk is puerile and extremely dangerous. He could do the world a big favor if he would put down the Twitter and the rockets, and assembled a private Manhattan Project for fusion power. There have been significant gains in the past few years, and fusion is not farfetched. In the alternative, a nuts-and-bolts plan to convert all homes to solar generating stations using Tesla batteries for storage would be a capital idea. Start a bank dedicated to finance such, like GMAC did for cars. Memo to Elon: the World is Burning. An overpopulated planet threatens to unravel into chaos and violence. Even if you can live as a sovereign in your own private luxury redoubt, human life will be drastically changed and not worth living for billions. At this juncture of history, you have the opportunity to make the mark of transformational individual, a hero for the ages. Instead you fritter away your time using money and social media to manipulate people as objects. That is the very definition of dehumanization. Your name will live in infamy.
Houchmandzadeh (France)
he wouldn't be heard if nobody listened
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
"No one objected to Russian support of the Cuban revolution". What year were you born? There was nothing but criticism, from all political sides.
Trevor Diaz (NYC)
What is the reason this guy always wants to stay in the limelight?
Neale Povey (Lake Forest Park, WA)
Elon Musk is a human well beyond his incredible accomplishments. See his interview where he reacts to the comments of Neal Armstrong et. al. who disparaged his Space X endeavors. This is humanity at its best. His prophetic visions on artificial intelligence should be a clarion call. We are fortunate that he loves technology and not just wealth.
Why is it that so many who are outraged by Big Oil, Big Pharma, a particular political party, or corporate America in general, nonetheless give a pass to -- even admire -- such a huge threat as Elon Musk? One person worth 1/4 trillion (yes, trillion with a T) dollars is more of a danger to America than are all the Twitterati put together, as well as Twitter itself. With his money Musk can actually finance Russia's effort to take over much of Ukraine, which Musk has advocated. But that's nothing compared to the influence (i.e. bought politicians, businesses, clergy) he can wield over the life of everyday Americans. If he should he decide to spend his money opposing abortion, supporting restrictive voting laws, or buying an AK47 for every member of the Republican Party, there is nothing to stop him. Whether it's elections, zoning variances, or laws and regulations to advance his own whims, fantasies, and economic interests, he can buy them. With chump change. An example of how Musk operates: in New Mexico, for instance, Tesla has moved onto Pueblo land, so as to avoid having to obey state laws and regulations. As to Musk and Twitter: I have no interest in addicting, often destructive, gossip-promoting vehicles, such as Twitter. Those who are interested can fight it out among themselves. Twitter is simply an inevitable aspect of the world's one truly democratic weapon of mass destruction: the internet.
Kay Johnson (Colorado)
We have to get $$$ out of politics. Playing politics with American lives is now some sort of bored billionaire's game, only real people get hurt. Hearing about Musk interfering in other countries for crying out loud is pitiful. How about that billionaire whose "expertise" is that he sells some sort of computer surge strips and who handed over a billion to a republican operative to sway the vote through outright lies? Are we supposed to believe this guy's views on abortion mean anything? These guys are a menace.
Tristram Shandy (AZ)
Money is politics.
Ken Krigstein (Delray Beach, FL)
People and companies need to stop doing business with Musk. Simply put, he’s a bad guy who will only get more sure of himself and dangerous with time. He would do everyone a favor by going broke and getting a real job.
Tim (Boston)
This article should be in the opinions section.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
"But Mr. Musk has not talked much in public about a significant swath of his past: How growing up as a white person under the racist apartheid system in South Africa may have shaped him." Didn't I just read this in the NYTs? He went to college in South Africa. He claims to be Canadian. How about you talk to Trevor Noah about Musk, see how he feels about this guy chiming in on solutions.
Voter Frog (Oklahoma City, OK)
Elon Musk is suffering from what we psychologists call "The Halo Effect", in this case leading to narcissism, i.e., hyper-elevated self obsession. Musk thinks, because he was successful at marketing $100K vehicles to wealthy hipsters, that he must also be some kind of political genius (the Halo Effect). And, rather than take the route of setting up some kind of think tank comprised of actual experts, he's decided that that's unnecessary, because HE'S The Expert (narcissism). Narcissism is unfortunately endemic among politicians. Republicans typically seem massively afflicted.
Paul Bertorelli (Sarasota)
I'm an admirer of Elon Musk's accomplishments, if not the man himself. He has been so successful, it seems, that he has started to believe his own press. That could be the top of his arc. Smart as he is, I think he's way short on wisdom.
Brian (Denver)
AWS is launching satellites for internet access. Starlink isn’t the only game in town. Musk’s influence in this space is not all powerful.
michael h (new mexico)
Mr. Musk sure impressed a lot of us with his side-by-side rockets, landing “sci-fi” style on a floating platform. But, like all uber-wealthy individuals, he believes that he possesses special gifts to solve geopolitical disagreements. Nothing could be further from the truth. His musings are merely opinions; something that we all engage in making on a variety of topics. Mr. Musk should stick to pursuing what he is good at, and leave the highly complex, nuanced diplomatic issues to the experts.
Max (Downeast Maine)
Having his Tesla factory in China, he is unquestionably going to experience serious difficulties ahead. So if he's such an authority on what's right in the world, and he's so smart, how could he have been that stupid to go do business in China instead of exporting products to that market? Because it's cheaper? In the long run, when he gets told what he can, and can't do, it will be more than he's going to be able to deal with. Smart people don't take a risk like that in a country that is going communist, with a rising Dictator in power. Now, I would bet almost anything that his long term outlook there is finished. And, if it isn't, that's even worse, that means he's in with the Authoritarians, and Communist's, particularly Xi.
Art (An island in the Pacific)
@Max I know. He moved his company from California to Texas because he considers California socialist. Yet there he is, building cars in China.
From Gravesend (Huntington)
Elon Musk is a dangerous man. I don't like that he will "own" Twitter and I don't like his opinions on the war in Ukraine. Billionaires benefit the most from the efficiency and services provided by government. They should be taxed the most.
Lucy Cimino (Illinois)
We praise Elon Musk for bringing attention and making fair proposals for the solution of the major conflicts that we are facing on Earth.  Our institutions are not doing enough to eliminate these conflicts in peaceful ways, as they should be eliminated, in the 21st century.  Humans have evolved to levels of higher conscientiousness, control, and understanding of their ability to make choices for positive contributions on earth.  The current conflict between Ukraine and Russia should not be occurring, at the current time of human's evolution.  We do value human life.  We understand all the time and efforts that are dedicated to preparing each human being for life, from the 9 months in the womb of a mother to the lifetime of education by both parents, and continuous learning until they are sent to an armed conflict.  All the deaths of civilians and armed forces, and all the destruction that have been occurring in this conflict, can never be justified.   A peaceful solution is needed immediately, and we thank Elon Musk for making available his great leadership skills to this important issues for our future.
David (California)
@Lucy Cimino Telling the Ukraine that they should give some of their nation to Russia is not a helpful suggestion. Real, thoughtful suggestions are not made by Twitter tweets.
NorCal Rx (California)
Elon Musk is another dangerous narcissistic rich man. He may be brilliant as an inventor and engineer, but a person with loads of money and no social skills and no interest in humanity or Mother Nature is a clear and present danger to the world. We know what happens when autocrats start buttering up men like him. He will make our ex-president look like a patriot.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
He isn't an inventor or even a good engineer. He is a money man this far from fraudster. Without government support he'd be nothing. Time to nationalize.
FxQ (Cincinnati)
When Ukraine demands free service from this guy’s satellites I think he has every right to ask that a peaceful solution be found and the fighting ends.
Debby (Canada)
@FxQ They weren't free. Other countries and Ukrainian citizens have ponied up for most of the expenses. When/if he acquires Twitter and puts spins on everything like this comment, and allows others to do the same without fact checking by an independent credible body, he's way out of his league and should be held accountable for any collateral damages he triggers.
David (California)
@FxQ Asking for help doesn't mean you give up your right to control your own destiny.
Andrew (Australia)
Musk should keep his mouth shut about geopolitical issues.
Rain Parade (San Francisco)
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
George S (New York, NY)
@Rain Parade True. Now, about Musk…
Open Minded (USA)
@Rain Parade Bravo! Quote from 1910 Paris speech, “Citizenship in a Republic”, by former President Teddy Roosevelt.
Carl! (NJ)
@Rain Parade Is anyone else disturbed by the grandiose pronouncements made about Musk by his fans?
Di Arn (Portland)
Any overly-powerful billionaire who is not acknowledging that publicly pot-smoking is negative role-modeling will think anything they will do is cool and fun. His bros will not ask: "What could go wrong?"
Stanley Butler (New Mexico)
The thing about chaos is that the people that think they can thrive in a chaotic environment, can't. They tend to be the ones that get bitten the hardest by chaos.
George S (New York, NY)
@Stanley Butler Perhaps, but those bites mean little if you’re covered in lots and lots of money.
Stanley Butler (New Mexico)
@George S You didn't understand the part of my comment where I said that they can't thrive in a chaotic environment.
Lady Liberty (New York)
Just watch - at some point in the not-too-distant future, Elon Musk will announce that he’s seeking the Republican nomination for President. I’m guessing it will be for 2028…
Flaminia (Los Angeles)
@Lady Liberty He’s not native born, so no.
Verna (Minnesota)
@Lady Liberty As a foreign born person, he’s not qualified. However I’m sure he would like to be president. Or more likely, dictator.
Lady Liberty (New York)
@Flaminia @Verna There has already been much discussion about removing the natural born citizenship clause from the Constitution, so there may come a time when Musk’s birthplace is no longer a problem. If the richest person in the world wants to run for President, I’m sure he’ll try and, political conditions permitting, may very well succeed.
Receiver (USA)
Starlink technology has enabled communication in Ukraine from the beginning of the Russian invasion, when Russia jammed all communications, including basic internet to civilians in Russian occupied territory. Starlink receivers and corresponding equipment is being smuggled into Iran because the Iranian regime has banned access to internet. European and Ukrainian individuals and groups have been buying and distributing Starlink receivers and equipment to Ukrainian military units for awhile now. Communication technology is vital, for civilians and military, for humanitarian and military purposes. Everything is computerized, from cars on American roads to American electric grids and water systems. Conventional and cyber warfare is hooked up together. Twitter needs to be an open platform where original posters, including prime ministers, scientists, physicians, farmers, activists and anti activists, can post their original comments without being curated or silenced by traditional media. After all, traditional media is owned and influenced by wealthy individuals too.
Debby (Canada)
@Receiver As long as comments do not incite hate, violence, or worse, insurrection and collateral death. If so the platform owner is responsible. Financially. Wasn't there just a case about this re: free speech isn't free when people die because of it?
Llamaman (Oregon)
So, once again a "businessman" who has seemingly succeeded in a market-based environment comes to believe that they can solve problems that appear easily handled by interacting directly with other world leaders. Instead of the family ties that characterized international relations in the 19h century, we have business interests that create opportunities for side deals that circumvent elected governments and established international policy. Will Mr. Musk be knocking on Mr. Putin's door soon? Or perhaps the reverse? Internationalism was supposed to take us on the path to global prosperity, but it seems more and more like it has created a class of political entrepreneurs who look upon nations, large or small, as merely an inconvenience to be negotiated away in the interests of their personal business empire. Mr. Musk has overseen some amazing things, but he should stay out of bartering international sovereignty in the interests of corporate gains.
Hoping For Sanity (In An Overpopulated World)
Why do human societies tolerate anti-social behaviors, such as the accumulation of massive wealth by one individual, family or corporation? Sure. Let every human reach the apex of their talents and ambitions — but within reason. I’ll be generous and say that a tax on wealth should begin once an individual or family amasses 25 million in wealth. (Although no one even needs that much wealth.) No person or company should have the kind of power and consequences that excessive wealth buys.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
How Elon Musk became a ‘geopolitical chaos agent’ is not difficult to understand. Through its fiscal, tax and labor policies in place since the Reagan administration, the U.S. has enabled and encouraged men like Elon Musk to accumulate unimaginable wealth and power that no single human being, and no small cadre of wealthy human beings, should ever be permitted to wield over the nations and people of our nation and the rest of the planet. We may embellish the explanation with all sorts of detail; but that’s it, in a nutshell.
Andy (Paris)
The US tax system is simultaneously an unparalleled system for concentrating wealth upwards , as well as for incentivizing both Casino capitalism and entrenched corporate financial interests to the detriment of literally everyone else in US society. The uneducated and compromised (like musk himself) will call you jealous. But your concise comment explains the very existence of Musk's influence as well as the root causes of major social and environmental problems in the US and by extension, the entire world.
David H (Northern Va.)
@chambolle All of which begs the question: why have the fiscal, tax and labor policies been allowed to continue, under Democratic and Republic administrations alike?
Erich Richter (San Francisco CA)
@David H Because a Billionaire's vote is much much bigger than yours.
David H (Northern Va.)
I believe that Mr. Musk's comments on Ukraine and Taiwan are common sense observations rooted in a sound grasp of geopolitical reality. Think back to 1962. No one objected to the USSR championing the Cuban revolution. The trouble came when the Soviets deployed medium range nuclear missiles on the island (in retaliation for our deployment of similar missiles in Turkey). Now, apply the same lessons to Ukraine and Taiwan. See the problem? We stood by and watched Russia invade Ukraine. And we will most assuredly do the same thing when China seizes Taiwan. Had we not armed Ukraine to the teeth after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, there would never have been a Russian invasion. Indeed, it is not accidental that Anthony Blinken a few weeks ago remarked publicly that China's timetable for a seizure of Taiwan has now been accelerated. Let's put geopolitics back into foreign policy. That way we will not longer be provoking wars that lead to global instability.
Robert (Around)
@David H No. Ukraine became and independent country in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet. We and other countries talked them into giving up their nuclear arsenal in exchange for guarantees. So getting them to give up those weapons was arming them...??? Taiwan has no real history of being a Chinese holding. It has been independent since 1949 and before that was held by Japan at times prior to WW II. Russia has no reason to invade Ukraine. All of the security arguments are a sham. The US has assembled a broad coalition in regard to Taiwan and the PRC has helped by its actions against India, incursions into other countries fisheries, etc and it is now being fenced in step by step. So an invasion of Taiwan will be resisted. In fact, reading a good book on this, Japan has given permission for US forces to set up long range artillery emplacements on nearby islands in the case of a PRC attack on Taiwan.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Robert Wishful thinking is not a substitute for rational analysis.
Captain Nemo (On the Nautilus)
Looks like he built critical infrastructure that is vital for national security. It may have to be nationalized.
No Party for the working class (Fly over country)
If Elon Musk would stick to business I for one really appreciate it.
birddog (oregon)
Well lets ask former Ambassador to Ukraine Fiona Hill what she thinks of Elon Musk as an influencer and potential Peace maker between Russia and Ukraine... As a reminder former Ambassador Hill was summarily fired by then President Trump during his 2020 re-election campaign, because she refused to go along with Trump's scheme to not only sabotage Joe Biden's run for the Presidency by trying to having her say that Hunter Biden had Blackmailed Ukraine's President Zelensky into giving him control of a significant proportion of Ukraine's vast petroleum holdings; as well as to say that it was the Ukrainians that had attempted to influence the 2016 Presidential elections (rather than Putin and his Gashouse Gang of cyberwarriors)...Great Read and very, very through..I would suggest you take your Time..
Filippo Radicati (Mountain View, CA)
It wasn’t Fiona Hill that was ambassador to Ukraine. The ambassador’s name was Maria Yovanovich. But you’ve got everything else right
Blackcat66 (NJ)
Yes, like Trump, Musk is all about ego. Hostile foreign powers have targeted such men in this country for years because they know with some ego stroking they can get arrogant men like this to meddle in things they know nothing about.
Erich Richter (San Francisco CA)
Narcissist billionaire politicians are unreliable allies no matter what they have to offer. Musk, like #45, likes to be unpredictable, inexplicably changing direction again and again. Sadly too many of our politicians follow the same playbook and all it does it create waste and chaos when what we need to do most is support politicians who understand and pursue stability.
John M (Atlanta)
Autism, which includes the ability to focus at length and lack of social awareness, social media, vast wealth, plus an inferiority complex all leads up to someone who thinks they can "rock the boat" with a tweet here and there. His followers blast each message reinforcing his self belief.
TRA (Wisconsin)
I am reminded often these days about Lord Acton's famous dictum, "All power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely." I'm not sure exactly where our dilettante billionaire Musk stands on the power corruption scale, but he's certainly well on his way.
watchfulbaker (Hollywood)
Setting himself up above his peers, above god, answerable to no one, Musk, appears to be heading in the direction of the classic Bond villain, a self deluded billionaire with a messianic complex.
Tristram Shandy (AZ)
Who is this god of whom you speak?
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
'Money speaks'! Just in case we forgot. And, unless the 'rich and powerful, i.e. Musk, may exercise some humility for the little they know, chaos may be the result. If Musk, quite capable in what he is doing with Tesla and some other engagements, ought to stay out of what he is so fully incompetent of, politics. Especiallywhen his purpose may be dubious if not devious, all to show his 'ego'...instead of his strength in advancing technology for humanity's benefit. Oh well, no one is perfect; so, why embrace a nonexistent perfectibility, and be judged negatively?!
desert ratz (Arizona)
I wonder how much Musk's being on the autism spectrum blinds him to the human element in so many diplomatic and other international issues. He displays colossal lack of sensitivity to all people.
617to416 (Ontario via Massachusetts)
Musk’s Tweets are the best argument yet for the confiscatory taxation of billionaires.
Thomas N (Palm Springs, CA)
Besides being completely self-serving, there really is something majorly wrong with this guy. Very much like Kanye West.
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
Musk thrives on chaos. He loves to stir the pot, stand back and watch the fallout and then sweep in and take economic advantage of the results.
caramba (NY)
well, Under Trump we already had a taste of this. Businessmen with no soul will sell us out for what "they " perceive is good for them and us. The issue is that they are autocrats without any legitimacy expect for the money they made. I am sicken that because of Elon Musk status he hasn't been slapped hard to dare taking position in opposition of the US government.
Matt (LA)
His mouth is the only reason that I do not own a Tesla and never will.
Joe (Sausalito,CA)
Just another "stable genius."
John (United States)
"Last week, in a Twitter post, he said he could not “indefinitely” fund Ukraine’s use of Starlink" It is pretty insane that Elon Musk is expected to donate a crucial corporate service to the Ukraine war effort indefinitely while the US government simultaneously transfers tens of billions to the coffers of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, etc. for war materials. Does anyone here think that Raytheon would give one cent's worth of weapons systems to Ukraine for free?
Deborah (Colorado)
@John Why can't Musk indefinitely fund Ukraine's use of Starlink. How much does Ukraine using the Starlink service actually cost Musk versus the cost of hard goods? It seems Musk is complaining about lack of profits on a satellite service when it doesn't actually cost him anything.
John (United States)
@Deborah The Starlink services to Ukraine that haven't been paid for (i.e. donated) have cost Starlink $80 million so far. I don't know your economic background but companies have to earn more money than they spend in order to survive. Why can't Raytheon donate its weapons systems to Ukraine?
Vo (Massachussets)
@John He is getting paid by the US government and Poland for Starlink. He is not doing it out of the goodness of his heart. Starlink have not been adopted by the general public and probably never will. Places like Ukraine, Iran, ect.. are where starlink can be used and make him money. He always goes where the government money is.
Elon Musk for president, another Trump like character but richer.
George S (New York, NY)
@ASHRAF CHOWDHURY Sorry, but since he was foreign born he is not eligible to be president.
Bluelotus (LA)
"He has called himself a free speech absolutist, and he is expected to take a light touch to moderating Twitter’s content." A naive expectation based chiefly on the self-presentation of a narcissistic glorified PR man. What happens when posts on Twitter call for unionizing Musk's companies? What happens when they personally insult him? Perhaps more to the thrust of this article, what happens when China leverages its market for Tesla's vehicles to demand new standards for Twitter moderation of posts involving China? Genuine "free speech absolutists" tend not to be business partners with the Chinese Communist Party. But then Musk is an absolutist for himself and his own bottom line.
CMcGreg (USA)
This is the reason no one should be allowed to have this much money and go randomly into this world where he is clearly as ignorant as is possible. Money does not make for smart and ego is dangerous. Shame on his arrogance and single view of solutions in a setting like international politics. Go design something and get out of politics Elon.
SridharC (New York)
Taiwan instead of telling us not buy Tesla could stop selling chips to Tesla.
Joe Farley (Manhattan)
How is it possible that with the U.S government’s vast resources, they must rely on one entrepreneur’s vision (SpaceX) to provide critical infrastructure with Starlink? Without this private company Ukraine would have What does that say about innovation in gov-run programs?
Nixon’s Liver (Stockholm)
US taxpayers aren’t typically fond of providing commercial services for a global consumer base.
The People's Elbow (New York)
Question for NYT Readers: Would it be good for the US government to exert more power over billionaires the same way the Chinese government did?
James (San Diego)
Elon seems to have become increasingly Trumpian in his narcissism and self regard. He has wealth, and has pressed innovation forward with it in EVs and Space rocketry. Great. Stay n your lane, shut up, and get out of becoming another "only I can fix it" billionaire who suffers from Dunning Kruger disorder.
Joe (St. Louis)
Interesting read on Russia and Musk. Musk may be being used by Putin to deliver Putin's message.
Mark (San Diego)
Car Kanye.
Carl! (NJ)
@Mark Disagree. Musk has never created anything in his life. Otherwise, yeah.
News Runner (U.S.)
Social media companies in the U.S. need to be held account for libel and slander, just like the traditional mass media. That they are allowed to skirt this needs to be addressed by Congress.
Musk is an attention seeking divisive usually on the wrong side of issues . Find him to be a very irritating in your face egomaniac - would never buy a Tesla - had an unfortunate Tesla issue with a suddenly dying Tesla causing an accident !
ss (Boston)
And he is the 'chaos' agent because of TWTR takeover, right? Otherwise, would have been something else? Prepare for the deluge of ugly attacks on that (preposterous) individual whose major 'crime' will be TWTR remake, if he is true to his word.
Ms. Pea (Seattle)
Musk is just another dilettante with a gigantic ego who has nothing better to do than interject himself into global politics. He reminds me of Trump claiming "I alone can fix it." Both megalomaniacs convinced of their superiority. As we've seen before with many of these rich guys, having money doesn't make him right and doesn't mean he has all the answers, which are based solely on his opinions, not on facts. He's no different than an annoying uncle who bores everyone at holiday meals with his opinions about everything. His idea that he can solve international conflicts is the height of arrogance, nothing that is foreign to him. What is it in his background the qualifies him for this? He's done nothing in his life but start a car company and now is playing at space travel. Nothing better to do with all his money, I guess, but his attempts to involve himself in international affairs should be rebuffed and ignored.
TRA (Wisconsin)
@Ms. Pea Very well said. Your sense of outrage is well targeted. Just who does he think he is, anyway?
Steve (Denver)
Not a Musk fan but why aren’t Starlink operations being funded publicly? Seems unreasonable to ask a private company to foot the bill when we’ve decided that aiding Ukraine is in the public interest.
David (Portland, OR)
@Steve Agreed. It's not an unreasonable request to have NATO cover some of the costs of the Starlink operations over Ukraine. However, like a lot of his public announcements Musk could not help himself from being blunt, boorish, or tactless in his request.
Ana (Los Ángeles)
Seems too that he is actually not shouldering all the cost. The article says that the US the UK and the EU are covering part of the cost
Receiver (USA)
@Steve Private individuals and groups in Europe and Ukraine have been buying and distributing Starlink receivers to Ukrainian units for awhile now.
Archer (Los Angeles)
Since Starlink satellites were recently deemed as legit military targets by WestPoint, Musk has all the incentive in the world to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine by whatever means necessary to avoid the looming catastrophe in the orbit. All his hopes and dreams will be dashed if Starlink gets dragged further into geopolitical conflicts. People don’t seem to realize the asymmetric advantage of real-time, low-latency communications in space. The more the West presses this advantage, the more likelihood we will see wars spill over into space.
Neanderthal Ned (CA)
I don’t agree with his comments on Ukraine or Taiwan. But Elon musk has done more to help Ukraine than anybody else outside of Ukraine. Sure, he’s eccentric and a bit of a megalomaniac. But, he’s done more to help the environment than the environmentalists. His actions speak louder than his words.
Enjoy the kitchen (Chesapeake)
Nobody elected this guy. He doesn't represent anyone but himself. We mine as well be in ancient Rome where the strongest guy gets to claim anything they see, and do whatever they want. It would help if the media would not deify wealth as if it were ancient times.
johnw (pa)
@Joe Farley ...yet the uS government after funding corporate research, sinking millions in development and tax breaks does not require an investors ROI or stock. At the same time these corporations claim they are able to Laissez-faire self govern while blaming politicians & the Feds for not making their profit goals as their crime and errors go unpunished. And the dance goes on.
Joe Farley (Manhattan)
Yet governments rely on the creation of his private company, instead of having a program themselves. It’s not like the U.S hasn’t had the time and money to build such a system. It’s a serious lack of vision and wisdom and frankly embarrassing to rely on one entrepreneur for critical infrastructure.
Indigo (Brooklyn)
There was a time I looked up to him for his amazing creations... That time no longer exists. But I still tip my hat to his employees. Please stop giving him so much free attention, look what happened when we did that to Trump.
Alex (SF)
Musk is a walking argument in favor of a strong wealth tax.
RAC (Florida)
@SridharC Are you rich? We should be taxing guys like Musk at the corporate tax rates we had before Reagan.
SridharC (New York)
@Alex Tax him because we don't like what he says? What is the difference between him and us after that?
Lyle Ross (Houston)
Wrong approach. Elon was raised being told that he was smarter than the rest of us. If he thinks it, it's correct. His approach to life smells of the arrogance of someone who never questions any decision he might make.
Vince (NJ)
I’ve been using the term “Kanye west Disease” to describe what you have detailed. It’s when someone is raised to believe they are more than they are. It fits.
Janet MICHAEL (Silver Spring)
What could go wrong? Two erratic,egocentric millionaires each owning their own social media site -Musk and Trump.One favoring China and the other friendly to Putin.The world has become more dangerous-the results of miscalculations more ominous!
SJ (Edmonton)
@Janet MICHAEL One's a billionaire, the other's a millionaire.
Phil Dunkle (Orlando)
@Janet MICHAEL One of them is actually a billionaire. Not sure about the other one. I consider both to be loose cannons.
This is why the ultra-wealthy should be heavily taxed. See this article from earlier in the week:
King Lars (ohio)
Billionaire oligarchs of the world arise, you have nothing to lose but your governments.
ronald harder (Bangkok)
Seems weird to me as a non-American that an individual would be given so much control of a very important communication system - satellite based communication. You can bet that all Chinese satellites are under government control, which makes total sense to me. Communication, is the basis of everything it seems, and to give control of the most powerful form to an individual - pure insanity.
617to416 (Ontario via Massachusetts)
@ronald harder You forget that in America our government is a wholly owned subsidiary of the wealthy capitalists. So capitalist control and government control are the same thing.
Madge (NE)
@ronald harder We used to have a few robust antitrust laws in this country, and some meaningful public oversight of communications platforms. But they were rendered toothless over 35 years by the apostles of Reaganomics and its various Congressional cheerleaders. The result is what we have now — an economic and political culture far, far too beholden to lords of capital like Elon Musk and his less showy fellow travelers.
Joe Farley (Manhattan)
Give control? SpaceX is a private company owned by Musk. Starlink is a service developed by SpaceX. It was created, not given.
Jon Orloff (Rockaway Beach, Or)
Succeess in one field - especially great success - often leads to the assumption that you are correct about everything. It's a Napoleon complex and can lead to bad outcomes.
Joe (St. Louis)
@Jon Orloff The halo effect. I'm tired of Musk. I used to want a Tesla, but no more.
Chad (Phoenix)
There is NO way we should allow individuals to amass more money than the government has. (Spoiler alert: We’re trillions in debt as a country, so he literally has more of it than our nation does). Tax the rich and get back to fully supporting the middle-class, or we’re going back to the days of landowners and serfs. Just watch. India, here we come!
John (Del mar)
@Chad He "literally" doesn't have more money. a trillion is a thousand billion. Musk isn't a trillionaire (his net worth is in the low hundreds of billions), there are no trillionaires.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
He doesn't have money, he has over valued stock.
Mike (The Wet Coast)
The bigger the bank account, the bigger the mouth.
Keef in Cucamonga (inland empire)
Musk is loathsome for sure but to be fair, any peace plan at all outrages Ukrainian officials.
Dominic (Astoria, NY)
@Keef in Cucamonga Russia has the responsibility for peace in that conflict, since Putin is the one who invaded Ukraine without provocation. Putin started that war. Any "peace" plan that lets Putin carve out sections of Ukraine would understandably be seen as unacceptable to Ukrainian leadership.
Cordelia (New Canaan)
@Keef in Cucamonga So, by 'peace plan at all' do you mean, Ukraine should give up its sovereignty? If Russia invaded your town next, would you work your heart out for the same 'peaceful' approach? Or would you, like Ukrainians, have the courage to fight for your country and countrymen?
Joe (St. Louis)
@Keef in Cucamonga Any peace plan than gives away Ukrainian territory and Ukrainian citizens to Russia outrages Ukrainian officials. I'm sure there are a lot of peace plans Ukraine would accept. Just not one that gives away Ukraine.
Fred Smith (Antarctica)
"Rosebud, Rosebud..."
johnw (pa)
Immune to the results of their "insertions"...; they and their families are behind an impregnable army of body guards, lawyers, pristine environments, and the violence, hatred, poverty, and chaos they churn create more pain, violence, suffering and despair. As one commented , at least this one does not have an army yet. Where are the political leaders who have sworn to protect our citizens? Where are the editorials boards who will stop giving flash coverage when they admitted five years ago it only promotes the chaos?
Diotema1 (Southwest)
He is the poster child for the danger of too much power in private hands. We need government in order to regulate such plutocrats, preventing them from imposing often bizarre waves of disruption on the public.
Pal (AZ)
Why is Elon suddenly an "agent of geopolitical chaos" after being the media darling for so long? Oh it's because he's taking positions that goes against the establishment positions? Even though they have a point and makes sense? I hope his twitter deal goes through, because we need real debate in our foreign policy circles instead shutting everyone down who doesn't buy the neocon talking points as Xi/Putin stooges.
Eva (NOLA)
@Pal, You say "I hope his twitter deal goes through, because we need real debate in our foreign policy circles". Does anyone really think our foreign policy debates should be going on via Twitter?
AndyW (Chicago)
From a pure business perspective, Musk’s public controversies are extremely damaging to his companies over the long term. A normal CEO, at least one without Musk’s reputation for game changing innovation, would have been shown the door by his boards a thousand tweets ago. Even private investors in SpaceX would have applied pressure on him to chill or depart by now. While his creativity and ambition keep fueling SpaceX and Tesla, competitors will increasingly be closing in on Musk’s key product advantages over the next few years. A hundred plus electric vehicles are entering the marketplace in the near term, with the bulk of the industry converting by 2030. Well healed rocket builders, like Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin, will be using the same cost crushing secret sauce as SpaceX on new rockets soon, landing and reusing their boosters. Loudly and repeatedly irritating half the government officials who regulate and partially fund you, along with much of your previously loyal, generally liberal and environmentally conscious EV customer base is not a great long-term strategy. It only gives his rocket launch competitors a better shot at winning government and private sector contracts, while making EV customers give Tesla alternatives a strong second look. Elon Musk needs to realize his competitors may be a few years behind, but they aren’t standing still and are not collectively stupid. Neither are his customers, employees and government benefactors. Reality has a way of catching up.
Matt Warburg (Seattle)
He's been allowed to become a global chaos agent by being allowed to amass so much wealth that he can pretty much ignore the rules and regulations that the rest of us have to obey. All thanks to GOP tax policies....
Jason (New York)
China is going to take Taiwan no matter what. It’s just a matter of time. We need to get along with China. Supporting Taiwan hurts our relationship with China and causes worldwide suffering. We cannot fundamentally change China, nor will China change us. We need to rapidly develop chip manufacturing expertise and capacity inside the U.S. so that we and the world are not reliant on chips made in Taiwan. After that, it’s up to China and Taiwan, not us, to work out their differences or fight it out.
Dominic (Astoria, NY)
@Jason Our support for Taiwan is the support for democracy over authoritarianism and autocracy, not just computer chips.
mike (San Francisco)
@Jason Your idea of stepping back and simply allowing the world to "fight it out" & giving into the aggressive land grabs by China, Russia, etc... is both cowardly & short-sighted. Let's just say that Germany was once allowed to take over its neighbor, with no resistance from the outside world.. That ended up leading to WW2..
Shanna (New Orleans)
@Jason This is serious stuff. The US made a promise to Taiwan all the way back to its founding when Chang Kai-Shek fled China. We have seen what has happened to Hong Kong. China does not keep its promises. If you think kowtowing to China makes sense, then think of all that means.
ronald harder (Bangkok)
Seems Musk is setting himself up for the big fall, as so many ego driven megalomaniacs do. He gets all the attention because of his title as the world's richest man. What would happen if he lost all that money? How would that happen? Well, a great deal of that 'money' is so called 'on paper', basically shares in Tesla. And even with Tesla share price down by approx. half this year , my theory is it still is at least 10 times overvalued. If Tesla did fall to one tenth, it would still have a market cap larger than GM, which is absurd given that GM produces so many more cars, and soon will be producing lots of EVs , some of them probably fairly decent. Every car maker in the world is now into EVs, a little late for sure, but making up ground quickly. Some of those cars are cheaper but not as good (China); as good and similarly priced (Korea) ; from cheaper to more expensive with more variety - pickups (America) ; much 'better' and more expensive (Germany) ; and as good but cheaper (China) . China wanted Tesla to build cars in China so they would have someone to compete against. At the time Tesla was making the best EVs. Note: the above is very much a generalization. So if Tesla goes down to reasonable , and here's the kicker, Twitter fails , becomes of no value when Musk turns it into a cesspool of misinformation and everyone leaves. Result: Bankruptcy for Musk. His stake in Tesla ,worth one tenth as now, minus $44 billion for Twitter = negative.
Jim (Houston, TX)
Having a keen business sense is vastly inferior to empathy when it comes to running a country. Musk has the former, but completely lacking the latter is disqualifying. Unfortunately, humility is not his forte.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita Ks, Homosassa Fl)
THIS guy most likely is a genius. But, he’s far from stable. Without outrageous loans and government tax breaks, he would be nothing. Beware.
Scout (USA)
Phyliss Dalmatian I wonder how he will apply his genius on Twitter once he gets his fingers all over it. No one knows what a global, political minefield that will be - maybe not even him at the rate he’s going. Beware- YES!
Gilgamesh (NYC)
Hating the rich sells, for their undeserved privilege, excessive influence, for their parasitism on the backs of ordinary people. It's been an attractive narrative since at least Karl Marx. The media know this better than ever as they have the clicks to prove it, and they dish it out to those who like it.
Shanna (New Orleans)
@Gilgamesh Hating the rich is much older than the existence and writings of Karl Marx. You only need to look at the French Revolution, and further back to the edges of recorded history around the world. Et tu Brut?
Scott Carrell (Canada)
It's time for the billionaire class to focus on the global environment, there is no planet B. As this climate crisis deepens you will come to realize that all your billions are worthless. The impacts are starting with the less fortunate, lower income citizens of our planet but we will all suffer and die (including your children) over your endless greed.
Nick A (Hudson Valley)
Elon Musk is becoming a real-life Dr. No.
Greg Tutunjian (Seeking Higher Ground)
How about reporting on the innovative people and teams within SpaceX and Tesla (instead of reporting on Elon Musk?)
Cordelia (New Canaan)
Billionaires are allowed to exist due to a tragic tax policy failure. I don't like all of them any more than you do, but right now we have to elect Democrats and then .demand. they address and correct for this catastrophic failure.
George S (New York, NY)
Another illustration of why we don't need oligarchs given political power or bring in office, ala the Republican belief that "we need a businessman to run government like a business". The Uber-wealthy like Musk only think of their own needs and desires (including the desire for attention) while having a very skewed vision of the lives of everyday people. Yes, many started out in more humble conditions, but the remembrance of that seems to vanish as the billions amass. Musk in particular has a history of oddity, whether due to autism or just being full of himself. Either way, I just don't grasp how so many leap to lap up his every opinion and promise as if it were etched in stone from the mountaintop.
Roberto Veranes (Tucson, AZ)
There is absolutely no reason for billionaires to exist. To allow billionaires to spend enormous amounts to buy the politicians they want with no limits is obscene. America is in a sad place where we have to rely on the largess of obscenely rich people to accomplish anything. Whether it is Musk, Bezos, Ellison, and even Gates. They were successful because they lived in the US. Used US resources (and family money), infrastructure, and tax laws, weak anti-trust, to dominate their competition and to squeeze or buy everyone out. Who knows what innovations we’d have if these few didn’t fight tooth-and-nail to kill their competition. Now, because they own wealth larger than countries’ GDP, they feel they are entitled to put forward positions in matters of life and death. The future of democracy? TAX their wealth so the middle out grow, not the rich preserve wealth at any cost. Including trying to influence world opinions so their wealth can grow faster.
Joe Farley (Manhattan)
How is it possible that the U.S government must rely on Musks private company to provide critical infrastructure? That insanely bloated military budget couldn’t accomplish this?
RAC (Florida)
@Joe Farley Do you remember pre Reagan taxes on corporations? I do and I also remember having decent public schools and infrastructure. Now we have a collapsing infrastructure and terrible schools. I wonder why.
Dominic (Astoria, NY)
I'm so tired of these oligarchs, forcing their opinions and ideas into every situation, welcome or not, relevant or not, helpful or not (often not). They act as if they are bestride the world, treating everything as a toy. Part of this is due to the bombastic, unrestrained ego of these men who believe that their success in one specific arena makes them experts in everything. Not so. I'm tired of these bombastic man-children. I'm tired of them treating serious, potentially deadly, situations as a game or a joke or just another chance to pad their grotesque wealth. At minimum, we need to tax these blowhards back down to earth, and strengthen the integrity of representative democracy and equality which is the best solution to most problems we face.
Roberta (Seattle)
Well, he always seems to be right.
Jon (Dallas)
@Roberta Really? Ukraine? Taiwan, his loony idea to save the kids trapped in the cave in Thailand (and when they mocked him, he accused the lead of being a pedophile in a tantrum)? His businesses might have delivered, but he's not "always" right and the more he pontificates on things he knows nothing about the more we suffer from his open mouth.
Patricia (Prague)
Dave A (Eugene OR)
Call me naive or uniformed (or both), but it feels like Musk diverted our attention with the promise of ridiculous, impossible or impractical shiny objects (self-driving cars, vacuum tunnels, etc.) while, in the dark, clamping down a monopoly on the future of online communications with his web of orbital satellites. Considering his propensity to muddle in world affairs, it looks like we’re seeing the evolution of a truly new type of megalomaniacal, global oligarch.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
Yep, time to nationalized.
CarolinaJoe (NC)
Musk, the free speech absolutist, never criticizing Russia and China, the biggest free speech violators. Coincident?
David (California)
@CarolinaJoe Musk has a huge financial investment in China with a Tesla gigafactory and one of the company's biggest markets.
Musk is clearly compromised when it comes to China. That's because China accounts for half of Tesla's profits, plus there is a huge Tesla plan in Shanghai. If Musk doesn't do what China wants on Twitter, there are endless ways they can retaliate and hurt Telsa's business, like gumming up supply chains, imposing tariffs, or punitive new regulations. TikTok (a Chinese company) has become the leading media platform for our youth, and now Twitter is being taken over by someone who is clearly beholden to China. At what point does the FCC wake up and realize this is becoming a national security threat.
Patterdee (Arizona)
Too many billionaires running around under the guise of genius who are actually just megalomaniac narcissists
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
I'm so glad he wasn't born in America and can't run for president.
L (Loc)
Xi Jinping wasn’t allowed to run for a third term until his lackeys changed the rules to let him.
Anne (Trenton, NJ)
Peter Thiel and Elon Musk were not born in US, but they have more power than 331,893,500 Americans. Both of these men see themselves as superior to the rest of us and believe their ideas of extreme wealth inequality and plutocratic should be implemented globally.
David Grinspoon (Washington DC)
I, for one, do not welcome our new tech-bro boy-king overlords.
Reverie (PNW)
He doesn't have the talent to lead so therefore he relies upon creating problems. Musk is the most boring man on earth and it is a great thing thathe does not have an army.
Ernest Z (Sacramento CA)
Can we go in the wayback machine to a time when Musk was only famous for making some weird, quirky, high tech cars, waxed about space travel, and only made off the wall comments about his company? Or can someone please stuff him in a box and ship him, Ye, Florida man and the Faux network to Antarctica sans any connection to the outside world?
RAC (Florida)
@Ernest Z That would be awesome!!
David (California)
Bad news for Tesla. Musk has clearly lost interest in the company as anything other than a cash cow to feed his political ambitions.
When Musk is called “chaotic” I think what is meant is “uncontrolled by the elites whose interests corporate media/big tech represents”.
@FB He is the elite. Whose interests do you think he represents? Ans: his own, at the expense of anyone else who is in the way.
George S (New York, NY)
@FB How can you be one of the richest men in the entire world and not be an elite??
Patricia (Prague)
Actually I think it means chaotic. He has no business meddling in politics and world affairs. He s a tech bro not elected to anything and representing no constituency other than himself. And he does act in a chaotic manner – buying Twitter, then not buying Twitter then buying Twitter; revoking starlink, then going back on that..lHe acts like he is king of the world. He is not.
M. (California)
I used to have so much respect for the guy, but he's obviously become surrounded by sycophants and is beginning to believe his own nonsense. Money is power, and power corrupts; when you're the one with ultimate money...
David (California)
@M. With an ego the size of his he doesn't need sycophants.
WJG (Canada)
Yet more proof that: a) Being wealthy does not mean being smart b) Being good at one thing is completely compatible with being incompetent at other things c) Extreme wealth combined with unfounded sef confidence is a recipe for disaster. We've seen this before and we'll see it again.
Uncle Eddie (Tennessee)
The best way to respond to Musk's meddling in global affairs is to not buy his products and to delete your Twitter account the moment he buys the company. I understand he is on the spectrum. But maybe if everyone does that, it will get his attention and teach him that not every thought of his is golden.
Mr C (Cary NC)
The power and influence that a rich man can wield on the global stage is absolutely amazing. Dependence of Ukraine on the whims of an individual businessman for its defense communication is bad. It shows how important is for each country to build its own infrastructure for its own survival. To wit America is dependent on China for the critical items like chips (not potato) and electronic items. Finally, Musk's wealth has been built thanks to the support given by our taxpayer's money. I would like to see NYT doing an in depth analysis of Musk's origin of the wealth.
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
Interesting that with great wealth comes great hubris, ain’t it?
M. (California)
@Bucketomeat I know some very wealthy people who are nothing like this, so I'd say it's more that great wealth corrupts unless one is also blessed with plenty of humility. Elon is obviously not so blessed right now. Hopefully he'll come around and get right eventually.
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
@M. Anecdote is not plural for data.
M. (California)
@Bucketomeat ok then let's point out the fact that there are many very wealthy people in the world, and very few of them behave this way.
Davey (Chicago)
Elon stiffed me, just like everyone else. So this Atlas is shrugging.
Simon Harding (Portland)
My mom always told me to say nothing if I had nothing good to say. I have nothing to say about this person.
DickeyFuller (Boston)
There is something so clearly wrong with this individual. Like Trump, Alex Jones, Ye, Putin, and other men with money and emotional problems, he should just get off the stage, please. They are polluting the society that 9,000,000,000 of us have to live in.
Margaret (California)
@DickeyFuller Can we add Zuckerberg?
Pat Boice (Teton Valley, ID)
@Margaret - Can we also add Thiel?
Rick Morris (Montreal)
@DickeyFuller Ahh.. the stage. What’s in common with all the people you mentioned (and there are so many more..)? Our MSM loves them and will reprint, recirculate and reiterate any and every nonsensical utterance coming from their mouths. Alas, the stage is a production of our mainstream media, but that in turn is a product of us. Do we want Musk and Trump to end? Stop watching, reading and listening..
Christy (WA)
Unfortunately more money-fueled ego than brains.
Blank Ballot (South Texas)
Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains. Thomas Jefferson
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
@Blank Ballot just like the old Amex commercial whined, to know no boundaries…
PictureBook (Nonlocal)
The new billionaire noble class just creates a 501c4 and uses it to bribe the government. Musk is an eccentric billionaire by doing it so publicly. I think Elon Musk is a skilled venture capitalist. I thought a lot of his ideas would fall short. It turns out he finds great ideas, backs them with money, and then uses his brand and PR machine to promote them. I think what happened is he takes top trending stories now and wants to insert his ventures into the stories. It is almost like a weird product placement. I am tired of Elon Musk spam but people seem to love it. His Russian peace was weird even for Musk. Whenever I hear of someone supporting Russia or China I have to ask what sort of leverage they have over them.
Hugo (Mexico)
Agree, but to be fair, he is far more than a “Venture Capitalist”… or good PR, I have watched many interviews, read a ton about him… and the man is a genius, unfortunately he is out of control and sick of power.
Schupbacha (Greenville, NC)
Rich does not make you very smart in the field of global conflict or diplomacy. He is a scary man who I feel does not have the wisdom to utilize his wealth in constructive way.
lance (texas)
"Geopolitical Chaos Agent" lol Sure, Jan. More like International Doofus of Annoyance. This guy has zero experience in ANYTHING besides being born a rich white person. Thats it. Thats his passport to a free life. He didnt invent cars or batteries or space rockets. He just got lucky, like the rest of these rich white guys, and thinks he can trick the world into thinking he is some kind of secret genius. How many times are we going to let ourselves be fooled by these dummies before we sober up?
lance (texas)
@Hugo Electric cars have been around for 200 years. His space venture is built on knowledge and research paid for by the taxes of US citizens. He's no scientist/inventor. He's just another finance bro dingleberry intellectual pretensions and delusions of diplomatic grandeur.
Steve Beck (Middlebury, VT)
@lance, Doofus. I love that word. I will never forget when I saw it in print in "ABOUT A BOY" by Nick Hornby. It was an early morning train into Suburban Station in Philadelphia and I was reading the book and laughing. We stopped in Paoli, where a lot of people get off the train and a woman tapped my shoulder and asked what I was reading that made me laugh so much. I showed her and said it was the word doofus. Oh, we will never sober up.
Joe Farley (Manhattan)
Well his company did force an entire industry of gas vehicles to shift towards EV’s. He also put the U.S back on top in terms of space transportation with SpaceX. His team developed Starlink which is providing critical infrastructure to the conflict in Ukraine as well as other parts of the world. He is able to gather talent and execute a vision with his companies that very few are able accomplish. I don’t think you can write it all off as “luck” as many many people are born into a world of wealth and privilege who end up amounting to squat, besides enriching their bank accounts without producing anything tangible.
Gina (Westhampton)
Sounds like the US Government should quickly establish its own StarLink Equivalent
papageno (vermont)
the problem with sycophants adoring billionaire boy kings as superhuman is that at some point they end up believing it
ts (new jersey)
Musk is contemptible.
Graf von Growl (Mid-Atlantic)
Another rich loud-mouthed egomaniac. Just what the world needs.
Chris (SW PA)
Nice Bond villain you have there. Dr. Sniveling I presume.
Marc Panaye (Belgium)
The kid only has 'power' because people allow the kid to have 'power'. Musk has no 'power' over me. And please, adults, stop tweeterting.....
Carl! (NJ)
@Marc Panaye FYI: that "kid" is 51 (!). In fairness, he acts like a spoiled child, so underestimating his age is rather inevitable.
Elizabeth (Roslyn, NY)
I shudder at the thought that the world is headed to being "ruled" by the very rich. No local governments needed! Just wait for Elon and his ilk to tell us what is going to happen. And the rich will decided based upon what? Their beliefs or financial stake? Elon Musk is just the beginning here in America and along with Kanye we are accepting our billionaire influence coming out of the closet. Where are the good old days of the Koch Brothers ruling from their private investments? MONEY talks. And we are going to have to listen to these idiots a lot more. Whoses going to stop them from doing whatever they want?
mc (Nassau)
I do not necessarily agree with Mr Musk; however, some ‘out of the box’ thinking is welcome… Our current leaders seem stuck in Cold War thinking…meanwhile this paper leads with a climate change article that clearly shows we are running out of time….we don’t have time for a Cold War redo….we need to focus on saving our little sandbox called earth
Texican (Austin)
@mc Well, we're just going to have to walk and chew gum at the same time because the fascists are on the march again, and I'm not willing to sacrifice its victims in order to avoid multi-tasking. And there will always be more victims until we stop them.
Joe No (NYC)
What a wonderful story to wake up to: Another rich brat who thinks they know what's best for the rest of us. One wonders what we've done to deserve this.
Tim (Sometimes Earth)
Being successful in business -- and incredibly so -- doesn't mean you know jack about other stuff. Exhibit A: Elon Musk.
Matt Rule (Salinas CA.)
@Tim- I think one could make a good case that extreme attention paid to personal wealth and power can be blinding to issues that don't affect them, but are extremely important to the rest of us. An unimpeded nighttime sky (a threat from his satellites) perhaps, like our millions of ancestors enjoyed but our children may not.
Carter Cohn (nyc)
Why must we put up with the ravings of this small car manufacturer? His companies are over valued by Wallstreet and he an infamous darling of media much in the same way as Trump, Carlson, Jones and Ye.
Beaker Kreissky (Midwest)
Being wealthy seems to infer, to many, intelligence and wisdom. Seemed to work for the Trumpster. To quote a poster: elect a clown - expect a circus.
Rachel (Newport, RI)
This was an informative but truly depressing article proving again that money talks and too many politicians listen. There should be a much prized award/reward for cooperative thinking. Mostly it all just comes down to nauseating ego.
J O'Kelly (NC)
Would Musk have any power if the media did not report about him? I doubt it.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
It would be a lot of news they'd have to ignore.
Lauren Noll 🟢 (Massachusetts)
Is Elon Musk really the wealthiest man in the world? Does a niche car company have greater net income than Amazon? I’m not sure Elon Musk is the genius he claims to be. Looks more like a somewhat smart guy with the external confidence of a narcissist. He’s impulsive, and claims expertise he clearly does not have.
John (Del mar)
@Lauren Noll 🟢 Net income <> wealth. Wealth is the sum of how much all of your stuff is WORTH. Net income is how much $ you have rolling in over a given period (from those assets, or your job, or whatever). 2 different things
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
@John we say cash flow vs assets
Hugo (Mexico)
He is a genius… plus all the things you are saying.
Cordelia (New Canaan)
Billionaires are allowed to exist due to a tragic tax policy failure. It is time to address and correct for this failure.
lance (texas)
@Cordelia Correct. Billionaires should not exist. If you make 100 million then you should get a trophy saying "I WON AT CAPITALISM" and the rest should go to building schools and hospitals.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
That involves electing Congress people who have the spine to stand up to the wealthy. But then Republicans easily spin it as being hostile to business and Americans can't seem to comprehend anything more complex than Make America Great Again.
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
@lance Maybe we let them park closer to the door at the grocery store too.
Paul Szydlowski (West Chester, OH)
Our founders struggled to constrain government power because they saw government and the church (which they wisely sought to distance from government) as the only institutions capable of wielding enough power to infringe upon our liberty. Today, not only corporations, but individuals can wield such power. In ways, this is the result of the irony of liberty - that unfettered freedom leads to a tyranny of the strong. Elon Musk may or may not be a tyrant, but he is certainly evidence how today's concentration of wealth could allow a private citizen to become one.
MEM (Los Angeles)
Once, the businessman's creed was "what's good for General Motors is good for America." Now it's "what's good for Elon Musk is good for the world." Except that it wasn't then and it isn't now. Why working and middle class people around the world think that wealthy men with no respect for democratic processes make the best leaders is beyond me.
JB2000 (Texas)
Agreed- this Musk worship is just beyond comprehension. Any objective analysis of his behavior clearly demonstrates that he is a self-interested trouble maker that abuses the weight of his voice on social media to further enrich himself. Yet people fawn over him as though he is some sort of savior. Not entirely unlike the 45th President of the United States now that I think of it…
Enjoy the kitchen (Chesapeake)
@MEM Working and middle class people do NOT believe this is good. Look at who is actually broadcasting this story. Working and middle class people aren't publishers.
Eric (New York)
At the end of the day this is more about what's best for Elon Musk than the world. Mr. Musk branding himself as an experienced diplomat or policy analyst with little-to-no experience to support those claims amounts to a hostile takeover of geopolitics by a self-serving business oligarch. This is a cautionary tale for the world we could inherit if the rich get their way in slashing taxes and replace adequately funded government services with whimsical philanthropic endeavors.
DickeyFuller (Boston)
@Eric He's on the autism spectrum and doesn't truly comprehend the effect of his actions.
Madge (NE)
@DickeyFuller I’m always curious about people’s qualifications to diagnose other people at a distance. Whether Musk is “on the autism spectrum” is entirely beside the point. His meddling in geopolitics is anywhere from unhelpful to actively destructive of US interests. He deserves to be called out for it, and the American media needs to get over its fascination with the overgrown boy-genius billionaires. They aren’t always innovators and would-be do-gooders. They are usually ruthless businessmen seeking to leverage perceived advantages to generate more obscene profits. Not much different than the original American Robber Barons.
DickeyFuller (Boston)
@Madge I've had a lot of experience working with 'geniuses' who are on the spectrum. I stand by my statement. It's as if, in my experience, they are not capable of empathy.
See also