When Donald Trump was first running to be US President in 2016, many argued that his experience as a business person meant that he’d be a welcome addition to the political arena; he’d be ruthless, he’d shake things up, he’d breathe new life into a decaying system. And so it proved as five years later Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building.

Trump was not the first egotistical businessman to wade confidently into the choppy waters of international politics and diplomacy, and it seems he won’t be the last

Now it’s the turn of Elon Musk. Over the last few weeks the Tesla boss has pontificated on the war in Ukraine and more recently the situation in Taiwan. Firstly, as part of a Twitter poll he proposed the official ceding of Crimea to Russia, and then in an interview with the Financial Times he suggested that tensions over Taiwan might be resolved if a “special administrative zone” – by implication a greater role for Beijing in Taiwan’s affairs – were established. 

Predictably, Musk’s comments were not well received by President Zelensky, nor representatives of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, who, to put it lightly, pushed back against the Tesla chief. 

Musk is different to Trump – he is more intelligent and a more substantial businessman . Nonetheless, the two men appear to have a similar kind of temperament. They both believe in themselves far more than they do anything else, and enjoy exercising great power in a business setting where what they say goes. As with Trump before him, Musk’s successes in the field of business, and the fame and reputation he’s accrued, have taken him into solving the world’s geo-politics and perhaps even world peacemaker.

But the problem is that international politics and diplomacy – not to mention war – are complicated. Very complicated indeed. Trump found this. It is not as easy as building hotels and casinos. 

And sooner or later Musk will find that neither is it the same as building robots and spaceships (as impressive as that undoubtedly is). Though he is unlikely to show much contrition or humility following the criticism he’s received for his comments. That simply isn’t his style. 

What will he tackle next ?