Elon Musk’s growing power worries politicians in Washington

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Over the past 20 years, state and federal governments have invested billions in Elon Musk’s scientific and commercial endeavors and given him access to lucrative and exclusive government contracts. According to a Washington Post report, some authorities are trying to limit Musk’s power in Washington by sponsoring his rival companies because they are concerned that he has too much sway over international issues.

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has begun to irritate the US administration with his proposed political plans for Taiwan and Ukraine.

According to the Washington Post, one of the issues that angered Pentagon officials was Musk’s statement that he did not want to continue paying for private satellite service in Ukraine.

Although the 51-year-old tech billionaire later backtracked and announced that he would continue to provide the Starlink satellite service, officials in Washington are concerned that Musk is getting richer and becoming an influential figure.

Musk’s “peace plans”

Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, caused controversy with the poll he launched on Twitter on October 3 regarding the Russia-Ukraine war. Asking his followers whether they agreed with his “possible scenario” prediction for the end of the occupation of Ukraine, Musk wrote the following items:

– Re-elections in the annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves the regions if the will of the people is in favor of leaving.

– Crimea remains officially part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).

– Water supply to Crimea is guaranteed.

– Ukraine remains neutral.

Musk’s proposals were met with a backlash from the Ukrainian authorities. In addition, following the news that the Starlink service he provided to Ukrainians was interrupted on the front line, Musk said that he did not want to pay more money for this service.

However, after the reactions, he reneged on these words and announced that Starlink would continue to be used free of charge in Ukraine.

Following this, the billionaire also got involved in the political tension between China and Taiwan in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper. In the interview, he suggested that Taiwan should become a “special administrative region” under China.

The Chinese ambassador to Washington thanked Musk for this suggestion, while his Taiwanese counterpart said that “their freedom is not for sale”.

“He considers himself above the president”

A White House official dubbed the tech billionaire “Elon, Everywhere” in the wake of these events. Speaking to the Washington Post, the official, who asked not to be named, said:

“He believes he’s such a gift to humanity… It’s like he knows best.”

Harvard historian Jill Lepore, who publishes podcasts about Musk, said, “He sees himself above the presidency.”

In the past, the tech billionaire has tried to get along with both political wings of the US. For example, he dined with former Democratic President Barack Obama and attended Republican President Donald Trump’s councils.

He also donated to both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Today, however, Musk has changed his political stance considerably. The billionaire, who publicly criticized the current Democratic Party president Joe Biden on social media, says he will vote for the Republican candidate in 2024.

However, Musk’s statements on Ukraine also anger Republican politicians.

Republican Senator Lindsey O. Graham, for example, called Musk’s plan an “insult” to the Ukrainian people.

US dependence on Musk

With investments all over the world, Musk needs Washington less and less as he becomes a global power. But Washington’s dependence on the billionaire remains.

The US military uses Musk’s satellite communications services to operate drones, ships and airplanes. NASA is able to take its astronauts to the International Space Station thanks to SpaceX’s space capsules. Previously, NASA was dependent on Russia’s Soyuz launch system.

In addition, the climate crisis has become one of the most important agendas of the White House, while Tesla’s electric cars are more widely used than those of any other manufacturer in the US.

On the other hand, some senior government officials say they have signed agreements with rival companies to reduce dependence on Musk.

news source: https://www.washingtonpost.com




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