According to Elon Musk’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, the billionaire handed over control of a portion of the Starlink equipment to the US military, relinquishing his ability to influence how the system is being used in the conflict between Kiev and Russia. The decision reportedly stemmed from Musk’s concerns that his involvement could potentially lead to a nuclear war.
During an interview with the Washington Post, Isaacson shared insights into Musk’s changing stance on supporting Kiev. Initially, Musk was supportive of the Ukrainian government and provided them with near-full access to the Starlink system, which is a constellation of satellites designed to provide global internet access and phone services. However, as the conflict escalated, Musk grew increasingly worried and restricted the system’s usage in sensitive regions like Crimea.
Isaacson explained that he had conversations with Musk about his growing unease with the situation. One night, Musk expressed his concerns, questioning his involvement in a war. He stated that he had no intention of creating something that might lead to a nuclear war, emphasizing that his goal with Starlink was to create an avenue for people to relax and engage in leisure activities like watching Netflix and playing video games.
Isaacson interpreted these actions as Musk’s way of distancing himself from the conflict and disavowing his significant influence. He believed Musk recognized that he should not possess such immense power, hence his desire to pass responsibility to the military.
Musk’s refusal to aid Ukrainian forces in attacking Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol brought significant criticism upon the tech billionaire. This revelation came to light in an excerpt from Isaacson’s biography. Musk reportedly decided against allowing Starlink to guide naval drone strikes on Russian ships due to concerns that it might provoke a nuclear response from Russia, likening it to a “mini-Pearl Harbor.”
Ukrainian officials, including Digital Transformation Minister Mikhail Fedorov, demanded that Musk reverse his decision, but they were denied. Musk defended his stance, stating that the Ukrainian government’s actions were escalating the conflict and putting them in a position of strategic defeat. The lack of coverage in the Crimea region was attributed to the US sanctions against Russia, which prevented Musk’s company from providing services there.
In conclusion, Elon Musk’s decision to hand over control of Starlink equipment to the US military was influenced by his fear of causing a nuclear war. Concerns about geopolitical tensions and escalating conflicts led him to question his involvement and ultimately seek to distance himself from the situation. Despite criticism, Musk stood by his decision and defended his refusal to assist Ukraine, citing the potential catastrophic consequences of such actions.