Elon Musk is a Threat to Ukraine and U.S. National Security

Wes O'Donnell
5 min readSep 11
Photo by Mariia Shalabaieva on Unsplash

The United States of America, with the most powerful military the world has ever seen, must rely on the charity of an unpredictable billionaire for battlefield communications.

The last time I wrote an article that was critical of Elon Musk, nearly half of my audience came to his defense. This illustrates the power of the cult of personality: when a public figure is excessively glorified and celebrated to the point where their image and influence become heroic or god-like.

Like Trump, Musk has his own large group of die-hard supporters and sycophants.

Because of this (and not wanting to lose too many subscribers), I steered safely clear of Elon Musk topics in my later Ukraine War coverage.

Not anymore…

Do you remember the mysterious Ukrainian sea drone or uncrewed surface vessel (USV) that washed up on shore in Crimea in September of last year?

A Ukrainian USV that lost contact with its operator thanks to Musk. Courtesy Telegraph.co

We now know exactly why.

According to excerpts from a new biography by famed historian Walter Isaacson, Elon Musk refused to extend his Starlink satellite service to prevent Ukraine from using it for a sea-drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.

When Russia first invaded, Musk donated Starlink terminals and services to Ukraine. But when Ukraine started to retake occupied territory, Musk changed his tune and complained to the Pentagon that SpaceX wouldn’t continue to foot the bill for the satellite gear.

How magnanimous.

When CNN broke the story, Musk reversed course (again) on X (formerly Twitter) tweeting “The hell with it … we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.”

Up until the point of Musk’s X tantrum, the Pentagon was about to hand a $145 million check to SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell. His tweet stopped that transaction cold.

However, according to Isaacson, SpaceX was eventually able to work out a deal with the U.S. and European governments to pay for another 100,000 new satellite dishes to Ukraine at the beginning…

Wes O'Donnell

Army & Air Force Veteran | Global Security Wonk for War is Boring, GEN, OneZero, Soldier of Fortune | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | Founder of Warrior Lodge