The post-election news has been filled with plenty of stories about liberal angst over Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter as well as updates about the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. But I’ll confess that I didn’t foresee the two topics converging in the fashion they have in this recent report from Government Executive. According to a deputy prime minister in Kyiv, the Ukrainian government is getting “nervous” about Musk’s “unpredictable behavior” and concerned that Twitter might turn into a hotbed of “misinformation” about the situation in that country as the invasion grinds on. As a result, they are actively looking at alternatives to Musk’s Starlink satellite internet access system, going so far as to “procure some equipment” that they might use as a replacement. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, particularly when it’s feeding you for free.
Starlink’s satellite-based internet hotspots have been the “signal of life” for beleaguered Ukrainians, but the unpredictable behavior of CEO Elon Musk has the Ukrainian government looking for alternatives, a deputy prime minister said.
As well, Musk’s drastic changes at Twitter have Kyiv worried that the social-media platform will become a “major source” of media manipulation, Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration told reporters at the Halifax International Security Forum here.
Stefanishyna said the Ukrainian government had begun procuring “some elements of equipment”—mostly European, but she also said she was working with American partners. These Starlink alternatives are “not as sophisticated” but are “something that would allow us to substitute and to make sure that at least at the level of the government communications and government connection, we preserve the sustainability.”
Deputy Prime Minister Stefanishyna went so far as to continue to call Starlink the “signal of life” for Ukraine even while announcing that they were shopping around for alternatives. This is the same thing that’s been said by so many other Ukrainian, American, and military officials. It’s arguable that Ukraine couldn’t have fought off the initial Russian invasion without the efficient battlefield communications that were only made possible through Elon Musk’s generosity.
And yet they are now making public statements like this? Perhaps they have forgotten that Elon Musk was the first person to step up without even being asked to and without any government compensation and bailed them out. When he finally pointed out that this free service was going to wind up costing SpaceX 100 million dollars by the end of the year and asked the federal government to help cover the costs, the Biden administration told him to go pound sand. But Musk turned around and basically said ‘screw it‘ and decided to keep funding it himself.
The only reason the Ukrainians are offering for their “nervous” condition is a fear that “misinformation” about the war in Ukraine might be spreading on Twitter. You can smell the Biden administration’s fingerprints all over this story because it’s their modus operandi. Biden’s team very likely has someone feeding these talking points to Zelensky and his crew. If anyone goes out on Twitter and begins asking questions about how long we’re going to keep pouring money down the Ukrainian rathole or suggests that we could use an audit of where all the money and weapons have gone (a sin of which I’ve already been guilty), that’s going to be labeled as “misinformation.” And the desperate rats in the Democratic Party and the mainstream media will stomp their feet and go into a panic because they can’t control Musk and demand censorship the way they can with Facebook, Google, YouTube, and other platforms.
After all of the generosity that Elon Musk has shown throughout the war thus far, why should he put up with this? Would anyone blame him if he pulled the plug? He should probably just fire off a tweet saying, “well, I wouldn’t want to be the person making you nervous, so have it your way.” And then he could just flip the switch.
And where would that leave the Ukrainians? It doesn’t sound to me like a bunch of bureaucrats in Kyiv who are “procuring some pieces of equipment” are poised to establish a massively complex satellite internet access infrastructure at the drop of a hat. Perhaps they should stop wagging their tongues and show a little gratitude to someone who arguably kept their country from going under entirely.