Why Elon Musk worries about power in Washington

Brilliant, eccentric and arrogant: the boss of Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter is a bit out of control in the eyes of many American politicians. But they dared to criticize his interference in geopolitical issues on condition of anonymity, the “Washington Post” said.

In October, between the acquisition of Twitter, the launch of four astronauts and a new salvo of 54 satellites into space and the presentation of an electric semi-trailer, Elon Musk still found time to offer peace plans for Taiwan and Ukraine, alienating the leaders. of these countries while drawing the ire of Washington.

The world’s richest man also angered the Pentagon by announcing he no longer wants to pay out-of-pocket for his satellite Internet access service [Starlink] in Ukraine, before defecting. Behind the scenes, many Washington officials worry that the 51-year-old billionaire is meddling in explosive geopolitical issues without consulting them.

For twenty years, the collaboration between Elon Musk and the federal government has certainly allowed the United States to regain its dominant position in space and to electrify the American vehicle fleet, which has been sealed at the same time its international reputation as a technological genius. . But now, many in Washington see the big boss as too powerful and unimportant.

Of the 20 or so senior government officials interviewed for this article, many spoke of the ease with which Elon Musk publicly mocked his critics — he called President Biden a “loose fabric” and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said she was reminded “a friend’s angry mother” -, only agreed to speak about it on condition of anonymity. Almost everyone agrees that he is as eccentric and arrogant as he is brilliant.

Convinced of being a benefactor of humanity

“Elon, the ubiquitous one”, according to a senior White House official, “so convinced of being a benefactor of mankind that he thinks he needs no safeguards and that he knows everything better than anyone else.”

“He considers himself above the presidency”, added Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and author of a series of Elon Musk podcasts.

Elon Musk does not want to answer us for this article, but he assures us that he has an informed opinion on the main problems of our time and his duty“to improve the future of mankind”. He is convinced that his peace plan for Ukraine can prevent a possible nuclear war and that his proposal for Taiwan will be able to ease dangerous tensions in the region.

This parallel diplomacy angers some allies, as Elon Musk puts in $44 billion [45 milliards d’euros] on the table to buy a powerful media platform with hundreds of millions of users.

For Richard J. Durbin, Democratic Senator from Illinois, “the truth is that people follow closely every statement he makes, because he often achieves what he announces”. Fellow South Carolina Republican Lindsey O. Graham called his plan for Ukraine a“anger” in these years.

Holds more satellites than any other country

However, Elon Musk’s relationship with Washington began under the best support. “I love you !” did he release when, in 2008, when he collapsed in debt, a NASA official [l’agence spatiale américaine] called to tell him that he had won a contract worth 1.6 billion dollars. Subsequently, Washington pumped billions more into its rocket and space capsule business. SpaceX has lived up to expectations, rebuilding a burgeoning US space program.

His bipartisan initiatives once helped him win over Washington. He dined with President Barack Obama and joined President Donald Trump’s team of economic advisers. He funded candidates from both parties. Now, he doesn’t have enough words for Joe Biden and says he’ll vote for a Republican in 2024.

The eccentric businessman who now rarely goes to Washington is increasingly critical of the federal government. He talks to foreign heads of state and government, sells his rockets and advanced space technology to South Korea, Turkey and a growing number of countries. He built Tesla factories in Germany and China. It owns and controls more than 3,000 satellites orbiting the Earth – more than any other state.

A world power in its own right

If he needs Washington more now that he is the only world power, Washington remains more dependent on the billionaire. The US military uses its rockets and satellite communication services for its drones, ships

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