Ingrate: Is Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky getting too big for his britches?
For Elon Musk, no good deed goes unpunished.
Get a load of the ingratitude from leaders of the nation he helped with his Starlink internet connection back when they badly needed that help:
Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) October 3, 2022
Eeew. What kind of a reply is that?
All the Ukrainian diplomat had to do was say 'bad idea' or 'won't work,' or 'too late for that now,' or he didn't like it. He didn't have to go all foul-mouthed and ad hominem, using toilet-mouthed language, especially against someone who materially came to his nation's aid at a critical time.
But he did.
Way back in March 2022, Musk was the guy who stepped up and instantly gave Ukraine a Starlink internet connection to keep the country online, back when a Russian attack blew out the Ukrainian system.
According to the Washington Post, in a story dated March 19:
When war broke out in Ukraine, the country faced threats of Russian cyberattacks and shelling that had the potential to take down the Internet, making it necessary to develop a backup plan. So the country’s minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted a direct plea to Musk urging him to send help. Musk replied just hours later: “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”
Ukraine has already received thousands of antennas from Musk’s companies and European allies, which has proved “very effective,” Fedorov said in an interview with The Washington Post on Friday.
Some news has since come out that Uncle Sam paid for it, but it's doubtful the feds paid for all of it. According to Newsweek, Musk shelled out $80 million out of pocket for the privilege, which is chump change only to Musk. Even if the feds paid for the bulk of it, the fact remains that Musk acted swiftly and competently and with commitment, and there wasn't anyone else who was capable of doing it. By his action, Ukaine lived to fight another day.
A little gratitude for someone who gave critical aid at a time of desperate need here is in order.
Now Musk comes out with a Twitter proposal of his own for peace and asks for feedback on it.
Ukraine-Russia Peace:— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
- Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
- Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
- Water supply to Crimea assured.
- Ukraine remains neutral.
Instead of a respectful reply, he got that nastiness.
Some of his proposal probably is too soft on the Russians given what they did, but you can see that it's a peace plan that could be workable as a compromise, particularly since Ukraine is going to need to stop the war at some point, make some kind of peace with the Russians, and get on with life, given that it can't win this war on its own. The huge toll in human lives being demanded of it are of World War I-level immensity and nations never completely recover from those kinds of wars. Musk's proposal is not a disastrous or insulting proposal, even if it's got elements one may disagree with.
And it's not crazy. David P. Goldman has pointed out in the past that there will be a peace agreement and there will be compromises. It's the only way this can turn out given that Russia and Ukraine, as is said of the U.S. and Mexico, live in a marriage with the other where there is no possibility of divorce.
All they had to do was say: 'No, thanks.'
But instead, Melnik doubled down, and made himself even uglier as Musk calmly and courteously tried to explain what his thinking was:
The only outcome ist that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f…ing tesla crap. So good luck to you .@elonmusk— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) October 3, 2022
After that, Melnik's boss, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, jumped in on the act, apparently having plenty of time to put out Twitter polls between Vogue photo shoots and fighting a war for national survival:
Which @elonmusk do you like more?— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 3, 2022
What a nasty poll that is, intended to brand Musk a Russian agent if he doesn't support full-blown warfare at any cost on Ukraine's part against Russia.
Musk struggled to defend himself, given that it was a pretty sleazy pair of false choices:
I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
But of course, he got nowhere.
This is appalling behavior, because Musk had been there for them when they needed him badly. Zelensky's butt-in is particularly unpresidential, while that of his ambassador is simply bottom-of-the-barrel.
By way of coincidence, Goldman pointed out in the past that Melnik, the foul-mouthed ambassador, has quite a gamy history of making disgusting statements -- see here.
What it sounds like is that the Ukrainian leaders are convinced they've got the war won with Russia right now so they don't need guys like Musk proposing a way to end the killing, since they're going to win it all. They can't know that, which is why they're overconfident. There have been some Ukrainian victories, yes, but the war is far from over, and Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, remains very, very, dangerous and determined.
Most likely, they seem overconfident because they are convinced that Joe Biden's U.S. money spigot, with billions and billions of dollars in U.S. aid, is always going to keep flowing.
So Musk becomes dispensible to them, and the object of their pointless, stupid, vicious, ingratitude.
It's a bad look, given that U.S. popular support for military aid to finance Ukraine's war is far from certain. Sure, Joe Biden doesn't care what the public thinks, but a red wave is coming in the next two election cycles, and that's just one reason.
It's also a bad look because Ukraine failed to prepare for war with Russia, spending next to nothing on its military as Russian troops massed near its border, even as it hadn't secured NATO membership, and Zelensky himself, despite CIA warnings to the contrary, loudly insisted up until the day of the invasion that there wasn't going to be an invasion. First he hadn't prepared, then he acted in denial of reality until it was all but too late. At that point, he came begging to Musk.
Now he's got Joe Biden on his string for aid, he's acting high and mighty with ingratitude towards Musk who offered help in those first critical days. He still doesn't have a leg to stand on outside Joe Biden, yet he's acting as though the aid he's getting is his birthright.
What is one to make of this other than Zelensky and his crummy lieutenant are increasingly signaling that they're beneath their offices? Maybe that overconfidence about U.S. aid and gringo paying for the whole mess is fooling them a second time. And when reality hits, they'll go begging to Musk again for help.
What a sorry specter that will be.
Image: Twitter screen shot