Elon Musk is doing more for Ukraine than the US Government

Musk’s decision to provide Ukraine with satellite internet is commendable – but it raises issues about what the US government and its allies are really doing for the nation.

To say that Elon Musk is a divisive personality is an understatement.

To others, the flamboyant entrepreneur, who is the wealthiest person on the globe on any given day, is a Steve Jobs-like, even messianic figure; a visionary who is leading humanity to new and exciting realms. Others see him as a spoiled brat who should pay more taxes and spend less time on social media.

Musk’s fondness for social media – and for making rash judgments – might, on occasion, be a very positive thing. Musk said that the space-age service was ready in Ukraine less than 12 hours after Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Federov, called on Musk to furnish the nation with Starlink stations on Twitter.

Musk has made an incredible comeback and a commendable humanitarian move… However, as several internet users have pointed out, it is a move that highlights the US government’s ineffectiveness lack response to Russia’s terrible invasion of Ukraine.

To begin, it is important clarifying what Starlink is and why Federov was so eager to have it. Starlink is a satellite internet constellation that offers satellite Internet connectivity to most of the Earth and is controlled by SpaceX, the innovative aerospace company Musk created and leads.

Satellite internet has been available for decades, but it has not taken off because it is costly, sluggish, and susceptible to interference. Starlink, on the other hand, is far less expensive and speedier than earlier satellite internet services.

The fact that satellite internet is not reliant on terrestrial infrastructures such as optical fiber or telephone networks is a significant benefit.

The service, according to Starlink, is best suited for rural or distant regions where access has been intermittent or altogether nonexistent. It may also be immediately deployed in catastrophe scenarios… Or maybe conflict zones.

Because Russia is destroying or cutting off Ukraine’s terrestrial network infrastructure as part of its invasion, Starlink may be able to keep Ukrainians connected to the Internet even if Russia shuts off or destroys Ukraine’s terrestrial network infrastructure.

Russia has also been launching cyberattacks on Ukraine, including distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, which Starlink might help resist.

Internet connectivity has already been affected in numerous locations throughout Ukraine, including Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Kherson, according to internet monitor and cybersecurity watchdog NetBlocks.

Some may argue that Ukraine needs more soldiers on the ground and military equipment than an Internet connection, but in today’s hyper-connected world, the Internet is a vital lifeline to the rest of the globe. It is an excellent thing Musk is doing.

Indeed, he is portraying the US administration as ineffective. “Over $700 billion military expenditure per year,” as one reader on a Fox Business piece put it, “but only a private enterprise is able to give a solution to an ally nation under siege ensuring continuing access to this crucial infrastructural capacity.”

Musk has received similar acclaim from other commentators. One observes, “Elon Musk seems to be the only billionaire who truly wants to save the earth rather than govern it.” “Musk understands how to get things done,” another wrote.

“Politicians will spend time at the UN voting against a country with a veto simply to seem to be doing something.”

While the situation in Ukraine is undoubtedly very complicated, one has to wonder how successful the US and its allies’ anti-Russian tactics have been. In the short term, sanctions seem to have had little effect on Russia’s invasion, and the limited military assistance sent to Ukraine — largely in the shape of anti-tank and material weaponry – is plainly insufficient.

Musk’s firm and swift support for Ukraine, in contrast, indicates a level of conviction that several Western countries, such as Germany and Italy, have been hedging and hawing about cutting off Russia’s access to financial systems like the SWIFT banking messaging network.

Fingers crossed that the US government – and other Western companies – will provide Ukraine with more meaningful assistance as soon as feasible.

5:45 p.m. UPDATE 28/2 AEDT: According to American technology writer Lora Kolodny on Twitter, it is unclear when Starlink will be accessible in Ukraine. Musk has a track record of making bogus promises…

What do you think?

Written by Alex Bruno

Alex is a writer with a passion for space exploration and a penchant for satirical commentary. He has written extensively on the latest discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as the ongoing efforts to explore our solar system and beyond. In addition to his space-related work, Alex is also known for his satirical writing, which often takes a humorous and irreverent look at contemporary issues and events. His unique blend of science and humor has earned him a dedicated following and numerous accolades. When he's not writing, Alex can often be found stargazing with his telescope or honing his comedic skills at local open mic nights.

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