The Elon Musk stamp of approval. The Tech mogul courts leaders on the right, advancing his policies, his politics and his empire.

Minutes after it became clear that Javier Milei had been elected president of South America's second-largest nation in November, Elon Musk posted on X : 

'' Prosperity is ahead for Argentina.''

Since then, Mr. Musk has continued to use X, the social network he owns, to promote Mr. Milei. The billionaire has shared videos of the Argentine president with his 184 million followers.

Mr. Musk has helped turn the pugnacious Argentine libertarian into one of the new faces of the modern right. But offline, he has used the relationship to press the benefits for his other businesses, the electric carmaker Tesla and the rocket company SpaceX.

'' Elon Musk called me,'' Mr. Milei said in a television interview weeks after taking office. '' He is extremely interested in Lithium.''

Mr. Musk has declared lithium - the silvery-white element that is the main component in Tesla's car batteries - '' the new oil. '' Tesla has long bought lithium from Argentina, which has the world's second largest reserves. 

Now Mr.Milei is pushing for major benefits for international lithium miners, which would most likely give Tesla a more stable - and potentially cheaper - flow of one of its most critical resources.

Mr. Milei is part of a pattern by Mr. Musk of fostering relationships with a constellation of right-wing heads of state, with clear beneficiaries : his companies and himself.

Mr. Musk, 52, has repeatedly used one piece of his business empire - X, formerly known as Twitter - to vocally support politicians like Mr. Miliei, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Narendra Modi of India.

On the platform, Mr. Musk has backed their views on gender, feted their opposition to socialism and aggressively confronted their enemies. Mr. Musk even personally intervened in X's content policies in ways that appeared to aid Mr. Bolsonaro, two former X employees said.

Mr. Musk, in turn, has pushed for and won corporate advantages for his most lucrative businesses,  Tesla and Space X, according to an examination by The New York Times.

In India, he secured lower import tariffs for Tesla vehicles. In Brazil, he opened a major new market for Starlink, Space X's satellite Internet service. In Argentina, he solidified access to the mineral most crucial to Tesla's batteries.

Mr. Musk's endorsement has given many nationalist and right-wing heads of state more international cachet, which they have eagerly promoted as a validation of their policies and popularity.

Over a month and a half ago, as India began holding an election, Mr. Modi prepared to host Mr. Musk in New Delhi, calling the billionaire's visit a testament to his leadership.

'' People are coming, and they are trusting me, '' the Indian prime minister said in a televised interview before Mr.vMusk postponed his trip.

The Publishing of this Essay continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Ryan Mac, Jack Nicas and Alex Travelli.


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