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Elon Musk arrives for the 2022 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on May 2.ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Michael Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia. He is the co-director of the Outer Space Institute.

Two weeks ago, Elon Musk tweeted a “plan” for resolving the war in Ukraine: “Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people. Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake). Water supply to Crimea assured. Ukraine remains neutral.”

Actual experts in foreign policy were quick to point out that Mr. Musk was repeating conditions previously expressed by Vladimir Putin, including several of the Russian President’s personal preoccupations. Then Ian Bremmer, president of the political-risk consultancy Eurasia Group, claimed that Mr. Musk had spoken directly with Mr. Putin about Ukraine just two weeks before. (Mr. Musk and the Kremlin denied this, saying they had spoken 18 months earlier.)

One could take the view that Mr. Musk is simply exercising his right to free speech, just like many other armchair analysts who spend their days pontificating on social media. But the world’s richest person reaches a huge and global audience. He also owns a company that supplies critical infrastructure, including a constellation of 3,000 communications satellites that is capable of changing the outcome of the war.

Before the Russian invasion, the U.S. company Viasat was the principal provider of satellite-based communications to the Ukrainian military. On the day of the invasion, it was struck by a cyberattack that disabled thousands of ground-based modems in and around Ukraine.

With Viasat taken down, Mr. Musk stepped up. He announced that SpaceX would immediately provide service in Ukraine through its Starlink satellites and began shipping thousands of mobile ground stations into the conflict zone. He apparently did all this without consulting anyone in the U.S. government.

Starlink connectivity has enabled the transmission of real-time intelligence to Ukrainian soldiers on the front line. Much of that intelligence comes from NATO military satellites, some of which produce high-resolution images of the Earth’s surface, while others intercept Russian communications. Some intelligence also comes from commercial satellites such as Radarsat-2, which is owned by the Canadian tech firm MDA and is equipped with synthetic aperture radar that can “see” at night and through clouds.

Starlink is further enabling real-time communications between the operators of Ukrainian drones and artillery, enabling precision targeting.

But later, when the Ukrainian government asked Starlink to extend service into Crimea, Mr. Musk refused to do so, according to Mr. Bremmer. He was reportedly concerned that if Ukrainian forces entered that territory – which he believes is legitimately part of Russia, in defiance of his own and many other governments’ policies – this would lead to a nuclear war. SpaceX then requested that the U.S. government begin covering all of the company’s costs associated with providing service in the rest of Ukraine. (The request was later withdrawn.)

When criticized for these moves, Mr. Musk made sure everyone knew that he thinks he is being wronged: “The hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free,” he tweeted.

Mr. Musk’s adventures in foreign policy have also included a foray into the dispute between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan. “My recommendation … would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable,” he told the Financial Times. “... and it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong.”

Is Mr. Musk oblivious to the curtailment of human rights in Hong Kong? Is he more concerned about protecting his investments in mainland China, where half of all Tesla cars are made? Has he been speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping?

One thing is clear: Mr. Musk must be reined in, and the only entity capable is the U.S. government.

The first step is to remove Mr. Musk’s security clearance, which was granted because SpaceX launches many top-secret U.S. government satellites. Mr. Musk’s combination of instability, knowledge, influence, access and vulnerability to blackmail makes him a national security risk.

Further steps could include denying SpaceX access to at least some U.S. government contracts on the basis that its CEO may be putting the country and its allies at risk.

Utilizing other companies that can provide similar services to Mr. Musk’s offerings, and building up their capacities, should be a top priority. In fact, Canada is helping: Last week, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced a new aid package for Ukraine, which includes a contract with Telesat. The Ottawa-based company operates its own fleet of communications satellites – and soon, it will be providing connectivity in Ukraine.