Last Updated on October 19, 2022
Neocon pundit and Iraq War advocate David Frum wants the U.S. government to seize and nationalize Elon Musk’s SpaceX in order to keep the Starlink satellite terminal system operational in Ukraine. Musk’s company has donated over $80 million worth of equipment to the war-torn nation in order to keep its internet, cell phone and defense capabilities operational. Musk recently announced that his company cannot afford to bankroll the project forever, promoting Frum’s proposal.
“It was always unreasonable, and is becoming unwise, to expect [Elon Musk] to provide Internet to Ukraine for free forever. Western allies should pay. And US should have a plan ready to nationalize Starlink fast if Musk cuts off Ukraine’s connection to advance his political agenda,” Frum wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
“There’s abundant precedent for US government seizure of critical infrastructure during wars or national emergencies,” the former George W. Bush speechwriter went on to argue. “Of course, reasonable compensation must be paid, per the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution.”
He then cited a link to a Constitution Center article about President Woodrow Wilson’s nationalization of the U.S. railroad system in 1917. Wilson did indeed seize the railroads, which were held under federal control until 1920, under the Army Appropriations Act that was passed by Congress in 1916.
There's abundant precedent for US government seizure of critical infrastructure during wars or national emergencies. Of course, reasonable compensation must be paid, per the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. https://t.co/HY0jUMzylr
— David Frum (@davidfrum) October 18, 2022
On October 7, Elon Musk stated that SpaceX has spent over $80 million on funding Starlink terminals in Ukraine. The tech mogul went on to say that the estimated cost going forward will be over $500 million, adding that the Pentagon will have to pick up the tab if the network is to fully remain operational for the duration of the war.
“We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote to the Pentagon in a September letter that was obtained by CNN.
The announcement came days after Musk was ripped apart by pro-war media outlets and politicians, as well as the Ukrainian government, for proposing a peace deal that would cede Crimea to Russia and hold elections in the other annexed provinces with international observers present. This solution led to accusations that Musk was a “Putin stooge,” among other things, with one Ukrainian diplomat telling Musk to “f*** off.”
Musk later referenced the diplomat’s tweet in announcing the future of the Starlink program, saying the company was merely following his advice.