Elon Musk Proposes A Peace Deal
On Monday, Elon Musk was attacked by everyone from the President of the Ukraine to pro-war think tankers for proposing a peace deal to end the Russia-Ukraine War before it escalates into World War III.
Regarding the water supply reference there: after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the Ukraine dammed the river flowing into it. The Russians destroyed that dam after they invaded this year.
ZeroHedge provided a good summary of the firestorm Musk’s tweet generated (“All Hell Breaks Loose After Musk ‘Russia-Ukraine Peace’ Twitter Poll”), noting that Musk was attacked for being “pro-Russian” despite having previously given the Ukrainian government Starlink internet via SpaceX satellites to help their war effort:
Zelensky sarcastically offered his own poll, which strangely framed the whole thing as some sort of popularity contest, asking his over six million followers whether they would like Elon better if he “supports Ukraine” or “supports Russia” – despite obviously that Elon’s original tweet and poll did nothing to express “support” for Russia.
But then as some pointed out, Zelensky questioning Elon’s support for the “right” side of the war is a bit ironic and rich when one considers…
Some have pointed out what’s clearly going on with the continued pile-on:
In addition to his peace proposal drawing ire, as ZeroHedge pointed out, Musk’s poll question about whether residents of Crimea and the Donbas ought to have a say in whether they are part of Russia or the Ukraine drew angry responses as well:
Let’s consider why Elon Musk’s tweets drew such rabid responses, and why so many Western elites are eager to escalate with Russia, despite the risk of nuclear war. Finally, we’ll note an additional reason why escalation in the war might be bad news for Musk, and we’ll look at a way to limit your risk in Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) if you think the ire of Ukraine supporters may negatively impact the company’s sales.
Why The Opposition To Referendums
The short answer for why Musk’s idea of UN-supervised referendums enrages Ukrainian officials and supporters is because the Ukrainian side would lose in those referendums, as they lost in the Russia-administered referendums.
Western media generally refer to those referendums as “shams”, but they tend not to report that they were supervised by international observers.
If the percentage voting in favor of joining Russia seems unrealistically high, one reason is that Ukrainian authorities threatened anyone who voted in the referendums with jail time.
If anyone tells you they’re supporting this war because they care about democracy, don’t believe them. Musk just proved them wrong.
Why The Urge To Escalate With Russia
Simplistic, Moralized View of the War
There are a few different reasons for this. One is the way Ukraine officials and supporters have characterized the war in simple, moralistic terms: Russia, a big country headed by an autocrat, invaded smaller Ukraine, led by a democratically elected hero. We must support David against evil Goliath. Of course, as Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs pointed out in his Bloomberg appearance on Monday, the conflict goes back at least to 2014.
Similarly, Western media report Ukrainian claims of Russian atrocities, often without any attempt at verifying them. At the same time, they rarely report documented war crimes by the Ukrainian side. That’s left to independent journalists on the ground in Donbas such as Eva K. Bartlett, who documents a number of them in the thread below.
This isn’t a Marvel movie, and we’re not supporting the good guys. This is a quasi-civil war between two closely-related countries that have similar issues with corruption and similar limits on political freedom.
Putin as an Ideological Opponent
Another reason for the urge to escalate with Russia is that America is an increasingly ideological empire, and Russia’s President stands in opposition to that ideology, as this excerpt from his speech last Friday exemplifies.
Putin’s mention of Satanism would sound more hyperbolic if the Biden administration hadn’t hired an actual Satanist,
But the key part of that Putin clip is his opposition to our current gender ideology, that promotes sex changes for confused kids.
Perceived Russian Weakness
Finally, the third reason behind the urge our elites have to escalate with Russia is that Russia has looked weak in the face of the Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive, and weakness is provocative.
To be clear, looking weak and being weak are two different things. Russia has considerable resources it hasn’t brought to bear yet in this war, but our elites–used to beating on weak countries like Iraq and Libya–seem confused about this.
Realistically, our best chance of avoiding nuclear war at this point is Russia winning the war in Eastern Ukraine. As long as the Ukrainians are on the offensive, they and their supporters will continue to make maximalist demands (such as taking Crimea).
An Additional Concern For Elon Musk
Obviously, the risk of nuclear war is a concern for Elon Musk, but there’s also a more proximate concern for him as the owner of SpaceX. A number of observers have speculated on how Russia might escalate the war, especially in light of the destruction of its Nord Stream pipelines, and some have speculated that Russia might attack U.S. satellites, by inducing a Kessler Syndrome.
Limiting Your Risk In Tesla
If you’re concerned that Elon Musk’s desire to end the Ukraine War before it gets us all killed might hurt Tesla’s sales, our cause war supporters to sell their Tesla shares, here’s a way you can limit your risk.
This was the optimal collar, as of Monday’s close, to hedge 100 shares of Tesla against a >21% drop over the next six months, while not capping your possible upside at less than 27% over the same time frame.
As you can see, the net cost of that collar was negative, meaning you would have collected a net credit of $95 when opening the hedge, assuming, to be conservative, that you bought the puts at the ask and sold the calls at the bid. Most likely, you could have placed both trades within the spread and collected a slightly larger net credit.
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