Ukrainian Diplomat Blasts Elon Musk After Billionaire Proposes Potential Path To Peace With Russia

Space enthusiast, eccentric billionaire, and social media provocateur Elon Musk shook up the Twitterverse yesterday with a poll regarding a possible path to peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Musk’s suggested solution with a corresponding poll brought the attention and ire of Ukrainians and supporters of Ukraine worldwide in full force, with one specific individual choosing some very colorful language in their responses.

So should we be surprised by Mr. Musk’s tweet? I think not.

Musk has long believed that Twitter is the virtual international town square, allowing people to chime in on various topics. So why should the war in Ukraine be treated any different?

The Poll That Sparked Outrage

Elon Musk’s original tweet and poll proposed a redo of the elections for the annexed regions now occupied by Russia, but under the supervision of United Nations observers. If the people’s will, as he put it, is to stay with Ukraine, Russia must agree to leave the territories.

Perhaps what struck a nerve with many was his next idea that Crimea should return to Russia formally. He rounds out the tweet by stating a water supply to Crimea must be assured, and Ukraine would need to agree to remain a neutral party.

It’s not surprising that Ukrainian politicians and diplomats would not be too keen on Musk’s proposal. It was just a few days ago that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a request for expedited admission into NATO.

There is no indication that NATO will seriously consider his request. On the contrary, it shows that the current Ukrainian leadership has no interest in neutrality. The response that made headlines came from Ukrainian diplomat Andrij Melnyk who said in response to Musk’s idea“F**k off is my very reply to you @elonmusk.”

Ouch.

Some Rewording

I have to give it to Mr. Musk; he could’ve easily just deleted his original tweet and avoided the. Still, I think his adherence to free speech and his apparent lack of care about how people view him meant that thought probably never crossed his mind.

His original poll had a 60/40 split, with the majority answering ‘No’ to Mr. Musk’s plan. After getting some push back, he reworded the poll in a new separate tweet.

“Let’s try this then,” he posted. “The will of the people who live in the Donbas & Crimea should decide whether they’re part of Russia or Ukraine.”

That poll had a different outcome, with 59% voting ‘Yes’ to 41% voting ‘No.’ It’s interesting how simply changing how the question was worded impacted the next round of results.

When the idea was floated that Russia should get something out of the conflict, there was expectedly a overwhelming agreement that it was a pretty unacceptable outcome. After all, Russia was the aggressor who first invaded Ukraine.

When the idea was then floated that people should have the right to choose their fate, and that the ultimate decision should be respected regardless of that choice, people seem to be amenable to that idea.

Unless, of course, all the votes came from bots, but that’s a totally different article.

Two Elon Musks?

Another master of social media, President Zelenskyy, got in on the Twitter polling and asked users which ‘version’ Elon Musk they like more, the one that supports Ukraine or the one that supports Russia. Again, the poll results were the majority for a Musk that supports Ukraine.

I’m not sure that Elon’s Twitter polls imply he is supporting Russia, but more dialogue, if anything, that supports peace, is seemingly less attainable by the day. Musk points out in a Twitter thread later that while Russia might be on the ropes, they are only a partial mobilization.

Consider that a total war with all assets comes to fruition. In that case, he postulates that a victory for Ukraine is “unlikely” and that if one cares for Ukrainians, one should seek peace. It’s hard to argue that Musk isn’t a supporter of Ukraine when it stations was thanks to his Starlink that the internet was still operational at the beginning of the war, keeping Ukraine in the fight during the first critical weeks of the war.

So what does Musk stand for?

Peace At All Costs

I don’t think Musk is a tool for the Russian government, nor do I believe he doesn’t support Ukraine. I guess, like many people in the world, he believes people should be free to live without fear from the government or their fellow man.

Last night, he tweeted that the will of the people should decide what country they are part of, but that most would choose to be part of Ukraine versus Russia. So if that’s the case, what is the harm?

The reality is it’s not just Russia that is not interested in a negotiating a peace deal. It wasn’t that long ago that President Zelensky said that they were “ready to agree on coexistence on equal, honest, dignified, and fair terms.’

The follow-up puts the nail in that coffin when he announced that “We are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another President of Russia.”

The likelihood that President Putin will be removed from power, or suddenly die, is pretty slim. There is no guarantee that his successor would be any more amenable than he was. So that leaves us at an impasse in the world, with a forever conflict in eastern Europe.

Free Speech

Musk’s tweet enraged many, including Mr. Melnyk, who tweeted “The only outcome is that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f***ing Tesla crap. So good luck to you.”

This might be true, but probably more because it costs an arm and a leg to get replacement batteries for one of Musk’s Tesla vehicles. So while I don’t think Musk’s proposed path to peace would work in reality, it’s good that we have a conduit to discuss such ideas.

In a text message unearthed thanks to the litigation with Twitter, Musk texted an associate of his, “Free speech matters most when it’s someone you hate spouting what you think is bulls***.”

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