The United States Department of Defense has purchased a series of assets from SpaceX, the space flight and satellite company founded and controlled by Elon Musk, in order to prevent the businessman from being able to cut off the communications of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at will. as it did in 2022 to stop the advance of Kiev's forces in the Kherson region and to abort an attack with underwater drones against the Russian Black Sea fleet, in Crimea.
The decision of the United States Department of Defense had been made public in June, although it has now come to light again after the unofficial biography of Musk written by journalist Walter Isaacson has revealed what SpaceX did in Kherson and Crimea. Since the chapter of the book that tells how Musk interrupted Ukrainian communications can be accessed, both the biographer and the biographer have launched a race of contradictory statements to try to explain the decision.
On Wednesday, Musk was questioned by a journalist from the British television network Sky who asked him in Washington: "Have your ego and ignorance cost lives in Ukraine?" Musk, who always stands out for giving his opinion on everything - from the war in Ukraine to the rescue of children trapped in a cave in Thailand or gender change operations - looked ahead and did not respond.
The operation affects the Starlink network, owned by SpaceX, which has more than 4,000 satellites in orbit around the Earth and provides data in remote places by not requiring ground antennas. The amount the Pentagon has paid for the systems has not been made public. But it's probably a good deal for the world's largest spaceflight company, SpaceX, which in 2022 put more cargo into orbit than all the space agencies of the rest of the world's states combined.
The operation also reveals how Musk has the State as a client and as a subsidizer: less than three years ago, Starlink requested a subsidy of 886 million dollars (831 million euros). When it was denied, he went to court.
On Wednesday, at a conference of high-tech leaders who share their ideas and, in several cases, are investors in their companies - a much friendlier environment than the meeting with the British journalist - Musk recovered the floor to give, once more, lessons of geopolitics when he said that the situation in Taiwan "is similar to that of Hawaii, because it is a part of China that, arbitrarily, is not part of China, fundamentally because the United States has prevented any type of reunification." The businessman's phrase has predictably not gone down well with Taiwan, whose Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, responded this Thursday with a clear "listen: Taiwan is not China. And, of course, it is not for sale."
China only officially annexed Taiwan in the late 17th century - the island had previously been under Chinese influence, but had also been independent and even part of the Spanish and Dutch empires - and has not exercised sovereignty over it since 1895.
Musk has a very large economic interest in China. The electric car manufacturer that he runs and of which he is the main shareholder, Tesla, obtained 31% of its income and 21% of its profits from its sales in China in the first quarter of the year. Musk has celebrated the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and his dependence on Beijing could be, more than his alleged sympathy for Russia, the cause of his relative hostility toward Ukraine.