Foreign policy and military experts are outraged that the wealthiest person in all of world history, Elon Musk, spoke with Vladimir Putin last week right before he posted a tweet urging Ukraine to cede territory to Russia.
“In a mailout sent to Eurasia Group subscribers, Ian Bremmer wrote that Tesla CEO Musk told him that Putin was ‘prepared to negotiate,’ but only if Crimea remained Russian, if Ukraine accepted a form of permanent neutrality, and Ukraine recognised Russia’s annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia,” VICE News reports.
Bremmer is a well-known political scientist and author, and founder of the global political risk consultancy the Eurasia Group. Russia illegally claims it annexed Crimea in 2014, but it is still part of Ukraine.
“According to Bremmer, Musk said Putin told him these goals would be accomplished /no matter what,’ including the potential of a nuclear strike if Ukraine invaded Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Bremmer wrote that Musk told him that ‘everything needed to be done to avoid that outcome.’”
Musk last week had tweeted, “Ukraine-Russia Peace,” and included a Twitter poll asking people to vote on “Redo[ing] elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.”
“Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake),” he wrote. Calling it a “mistake” is something many disagree with.
He also wrote as stipulations: “Water supply to Crimea assured,” and “Ukraine remains neutral.”
The final vote was strongly against Musk’s proposal, 59.1% to 40.9%.
Many around the world say Putin and Russia have committed war crimes, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko less than an hour after Musk’s tweet last week wrote: “Elon Musk is a gutless chickenshit. If you buy a Tesla, you’re giving money to a Putin apologist.”
The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols, a retired professor at the U.S. Naval War College and an expert on international affairs including Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security affairs, blasted Musk.
“Well, glad to see that talented amateur diplomat Elon Musk was able to elicit yet another nuclear threat from Putin while undermining the West’s efforts here,” he wrote in response to the VICE article. “This is why diplomacy is a matter for grownups and professionals, and not for immature dilettantes.”
The government watchdog Citizens for Ethics in Washington (CREW) warned about at the impending sale of top social media platform Twitter to Musk.
“Elon Musk reportedly spoke directly with Vladimir Putin before tweeting a proposal to end the war in Ukraine that would have seen territory permanently ceded to Russia,” they noted. “Really makes you question whose interests a Musk-run Twitter would represent.”
David T. Burbach, Ph.D. is a National Security Affairs professor at the U.S. Naval War College. His bio there says he “teaches the politics of U.S. foreign policy, space security and international relations. His scholarly interests include civil-military relations, defense planning and the relationship between international security and technology, particularly space and nuclear policy.”
Sharing some “Thoughts,” he writes: “I guess explains unlikely details in Musk tweets (1783, Khrushchev’s mistake).”
“Odd position for CEO of key firm for US military space launches to be in,” he adds. Responding to VICE’s article, he says, “Report that Putin made a direct nuclear threat to Musk (if ‘UA invades Crimea’).”
In response to Burbach, attorney Max Kennerly examined the issues with Musk having numerous federal government contracts.
“Whole lot of yikes here in Musk talking to Putin. (Put aside the Logan Act; sure, it exists, but it’s never used, and who knows what FedSoc courts would do with it,)” he writes. “Bigger issues are Musk’s federal gov’t contracts and controlling interests in significant U.S. companies.”
MSNBC anchor and legal contributor Katie S. Phang tweeted, “Oh look, it’s #MoscowMusk! ”