Elon Musk fears the West is ‘sleepwalking’ into WWIII


Arguing the West is sending Ukrainian boys into a “meatgrinder” to die fighting their Russian cousins, Elon Musk called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and the normalization of relations with Moscow in the interest of preventing a third world war. 

In a Spaces discussion hosted by Musk associate David Sacks and including GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy—both vocal critics of U.S. aid to Kyiv—talk soon pivoted away from the titular subject of Israel and Hamas to a broader debate over geopolitics. Here the trio of wealthy tech entrepreneurs agreed Western sanctions were at fault for driving Russia into the arms of China.  

Citing both his experience dealing with the defense and intelligence communities as SpaceX CEO as well as his frequent meetings with world leaders, Musk said he feared the current breakdown in communication channels between the great powers. This fostered an environment of suspicion, he added, in which each believes the other may be gearing up for an attack. 

“Russia and China have started doing joint military exercises, I don’t know how many people are aware of this,” Musk said on Monday. “We are sleepwalking our way into World War III with one foolish decision after the other.”

The West’s decision to launch an avalanche of punitive sanctions against Vladimir Putin may have proved a fatal mistake after Moscow sought the support of Beijing. 

“What choice have we given them?” Musk criticized, before spelling out what this could mean in practical terms—a western alliance unable to maintain arms production with a militaristic East. 

“Russia has the raw materials and China has the industrial capacity, it’s frankly a perfect match from a war standpoint.”

Rules-based order

As Sacks asked whether détente is still possible with Russia and Ramaswamy questioned whether Putin could be convinced to trust the West, Musk took the opportunity to re-table his controversial peace proposal from last October. 

This would include an internationally supervised referendum held in the territories seized by Putin’s army. Ukrainian refugees would be offered the opportunity to return to the former homes they fled in the face of Putin’s advancing soldiers. That way they can cast their vote alongside their fellow Russian brethren, since the two Slavic peoples are not “natural adversaries”, according to Musk. 

With either side unable to achieve total victory over the other, the entrepreneur believes the best solution for civilization as a whole is for Ukraine to trade land for peace. Their concession would spare the lives of Ukrainians cut down in the “flower of their youth”, while helping prevent a broader conflagration of conflict. 

“We should seek peace I think immediately, we should seek to restore normal relations as soon as possible—this is not some kind of reward for Russia, this is simply recognizing the realities,” Musk said. 

Should Musk’s proposal come to fruition, it would mark the third time that Putin’s appetite for territorial expansion through military conquest would be sated after sending his army first into ethnic Russian enclaves in Georgia in 2008 and later Crimea in 2014. 

In Musk’s view the end of any pretence of a rules-based international order is a necessary evil if the alternative is a third world war. That would be infinitely worse than a return to the last century’s age of empires. 

“If civilization goes away, it’s all over for everyone,” he said.

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