The New York TimesThe New York Times

How Elon Musk Became a Geopolitical Chaos Agent

By Cade Metz, Adam Satariano and Chang Che

27 Oct 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

While plenty of billionaires like to tweet their two cents on world affairs, none can come close to Musk’s influence and ability to cause trouble.

In the past four weeks, Elon Musk has offered a peace plan for Russia and Ukraine that outraged Ukrainian officials. He has posted a tweet about Iranian internet access that exposed government protesters to a phishing scheme. He has also suggested in a newspaper interview that China could be appeased if it were given partial control of Taiwan. An official in Taipei demanded that he retract his suggestion.

Musk has in recent months emerged as a new, chaotic actor on the stage of global politics. While plenty of billionaire executives like to tweet their two cents on world affairs, none can come close to Musk’s influence and ability to cause trouble. He has sometimes waded into situations even after he was advised not to, and has already left behind plenty of messes.

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