Elon Musk got involved in the war in Ukraine with a peace plan that he would have matured. The Ukrainian government has made its point of view: perhaps it would be better to keep quiet.
All it took was one tweet to provoke a very strong protest from the Ukrainian authorities. Or, more precisely, of a succession of messages from Elon Musk around a peace plan for Ukraine which, according to him, would put an end to Russia’s military offensive on its soil. Messages accompanied by a poll on Twitter, to collect the opinion of his followers.
The American entrepreneur declined his diplomatic vision in four points, which would be sufficient to settle a conflict that has lasted for more than seven months (eight years, if we go back to the invasion of Crimea in 2014) and has caused thousands of military and civilian deaths. But the leads put forward tend to record Russian territorial possessions and neutralize Ukraine.
These points are:
- Redo the elections of the annexed regions under the supervision of the UN. Russia withdraws if that is the will of the people;
- Crimea is officially part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake);
- Crimea’s water supply is secure;
- Ukraine remains neutral.
His proposal was then submitted to a questionnaire on Twitter – which is quite curious, for diplomacy – which in the current state of the vote is globally rejected by 60% of those polled (but the results fluctuate). In other tweets, he says he is quite convinced that such a negotiation will end up being done, when there are too many deaths or if a nuclear conflict is looming.
Unhappy to see that his short questionnaire led to the rejection of his proposal, he then assured that it would be manipulation because of “bots” who would have voted against him.
Elon Musk’s plan is rejected entirely by Ukraine
Since then, the Ukrainian government has reacted vigorously on Twitter. “Are you trying to legitimize pseudo-referendums that took place at gunpoint under conditions of persecution, mass executions, and torture? Wrong way,” wrote Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in response.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, for once, used very undiplomatic language to express the substance of his thoughts. “Fuck you,” Ukrainian diplomat Andrij Melnyk tweeted. Volodymyr Zelensky, reacted with more finesse, opposing his poll to that of Musk: which version of Elon Musk do you prefer? The one supporting Ukraine or the one helping Russia?
Moreover, some have pointed out that referendums have already taken place. It was in 1991 when the country gained independence. The participation amounted to 84.18% and the “yes” vote won 92.3%. All the regions solicited voted in favor of independence, including Crimea, with a rate of 56%. And in the bordering regions to the east, it was at least 83%.
” Fuck off “Andrij Melnyk
For years, Elon Musk has been involved in current issues, listing the actions that should be taken to resolve this or that subject. Or he asks for a plan and promises to act if it is viable. Children are trapped in a cave in Thailand? Let’s build a mini-submarine. Is there hunger in the world? Provide him with a strategy and he will finance it.
This feeling of having a solution for all kinds of subjects may have a beginning of explanation with the publication of confidential messages with Elon Musk in the loop. Indeed, it appeared that many of these exchanges flatter the ego of the person concerned, by repeating to him that he is formidable – which could have played in his perilous decision to buy Twitter.
This approving environment, which is also generally found on Twitter with the thousands of replies, retweets, and “likes” it receives every day on the social network, may have participated in building a vision at Elon Musk where each situation can be regulated by a plan, if necessary with a lot of money and technology – like Starlink to connect humanity.
Elon Musk denies this, however. “You suppose I want to be popular. I do not care. I care that millions of people can die for nothing for an essentially identical result”, he retorts to a Net surfer, judging that “the victory of Ukraine is unlikely in an all-out war”, given the difference in mass between the two countries.
The billionaire also dismissed the idea that he would support Russia, citing what he did with Starlink for Ukraine. “We gave Starlink [kits and access] to Ukraine and lost over $80 million doing so, while putting SpaceX and myself at serious risk from a Russian cyberattack.” it — but not all kits are offered nonetheless.
Reactions that show how the war is perceived on each side
Beyond knowing whether Elon Musk is struck by a Dunning-Kruger effect, that is to say, an effect of overconfidence, where one thinks of having skills in an area in which one has no legitimacy, its peace proposal was analyzed through the prism of Russian and Ukrainian reactions, which speak volumes about the military dynamics on the ground.
The virulent rejection of the Ukrainian side reflects the fact that Kyiv has the advantage on the front and that the country is still pushing its advantage in the occupied territories – in the Donbas and even in the Crimea. Ukraine is very hostile to fixing things now because it would be giving up while the counter-offensive is yielding results.
This observation was made by Phillips P. OBrien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St Andrews. As the academic points out, the Russian media have reported on Musk’s ideas without criticizing them. This is the case of RT for example. Dmitry Medvedev, the vice-president, who since the start of the conflict has been one of the most warmongers, also welcomed the reflection.
The Russians do not strictly reject Elon Musk’s proposal, because it would freeze the current achievements – and prevent the Russian army from retreating further, which is excessively humiliating. If the Russians were still in some kind of blitzkrieg, Elon Musk’s tweet probably wouldn’t have had the same reception, if any.