Elon Musk is not the only one to make the trip to China, where he went from May 30 to 1er June. Evidenced by the trips of the boss of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, and that of Starbucks, Laxman Narasimhan, all worried about the potential consequences of tensions between Beijing and Washington.
The Tesla boss’ last visit was three years ago, before the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, however, the visionary entrepreneur has not only become the richest man in the United States and the world. He has also taken a firm foothold in politics, in a Republican camp tormented by Trumpism.
And he took over the social network Twitter in the name of a “ absolutism of freedom of expression » assumed which has allowed the return of some of the most controversial voices. Elon Musk claims libertarianism, a perennial political philosophy in the United States which sees in the State the source of all evil and an unbearable straitjacket restraining a necessarily virtuous individualism.
These reminders highlight the double discourse of the businessman, in Beijing as in Shanghai, when his interests are at stake. During a visit worthy of that of a head of state, the “ comrade elon », celebrated as such on social networks under guard, has refrained from the slightest remark with regard to the Chinese authoritarian model which, for example, causes Twitter to be blocked there. His costume as an uncompromising defender of high principles was clearly not on the trip. Half of the production of electric cars from which he still derives most of his fortune comes from factories in Shanghai. This explains that.
This hypocrisy should not be more acceptable from such a powerful entrepreneur than from a politician. This is all the more true since Elon Musk has also become in recent months an agent of geopolitical chaos. In October 2022, he thus caused trouble by proposing, on Twitter, a “peace plan” for Ukraine which would in fact endorse Russian territorial conquests and which the Kremlin loudly welcomed.
The casualness of the entrepreneur
On this occasion, it lost a good part of the international credit obtained with the provision to the Ukrainians of its Internet access network by satellite in the first days of the Russian aggression. Credit already diminished by his public questions about the sustainability of this support. Twice, in October 2022 and in May, the boss of Tesla also spoke out in favor of Beijing’s control over the rebel island of Taiwan.
As much as some American Republicans may find themselves in the casualness of the entrepreneur vis-à-vis Ukrainian sovereignty, his positions on Taiwan go diametrically on this point against the political line of his country.
Elon Musk’s visit to China had at least one virtue, that of forcing him into silence for its entire duration on the social network he owns. Barely out of his interview with President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Paris on May 16, the entrepreneur had thus embarked on a diatribe with the worst overtones targeting billionaire George Soros, accused of wanting to destroy “ the very fabric of civilization ». Heavily criticized, he wrapped himself in his freedom of speech, claiming to be ready to pay the price.
The Chinese tour shows the reality of its postures. Like the need to constantly keep in mind the irresponsibility of this self-proclaimed demiurge.