During an interview on Wednesday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton expressed regret for pressuring Ukraine to abandon its nuclear program amid the country’s protracted conflict with Russia. He claimed the battle wouldn’t have occurred if Ukraine had kept its nuclear weapons.
During the conflict’s more than 400 days, tens of thousands of people on both sides have lost their lives.
The sentiments expressed are consistent with the reasoning pro-Second Amendment proponents used when considering the role of gun ownership and the availability of guns in preventing acts of violence from escalating.
The Ukrainian government in Kyiv signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994, agreeing to give up its third-largest nuclear arsenal (1,900 strategic nuclear weapons).
In return for these guarantees, the United States, Russia, and Britain agreed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing boundaries of Ukraine” and “to abstain from the threat or use of force” against Ukraine.
Ukraine’s first president, Leonid Kravchuk, was reportedly unimpressed by the 1994 deal, saying just after signing it, “If tomorrow Russia marches into Crimea, no one would raise an eyebrow.”
An expert on the Soviet Union and US-Soviet ties, Simon Miles, is an assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Affairs and said that a nuclear-armed Ukraine would have “great confidence in territorial integrity.”
Miles said, “We probably would not witness this invasion.”
In 2014, under former President Obama’s administration, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula; in 2022, during the administration of President Joe Biden, Moscow invaded eastern Ukraine once more.
The drop in violent crime has been linked to many variables, including gun regulation, social programs, the availability of mental health facilities, and the expansion of non-firearm security standards; however, critics of private gun ownership have contested these results.
One thing is clear, supporters of the Second Amendment, such as the National Rifle Association, have argued that increased gun availability would reduce crime.
Clinton’s argument for Ukraine’s deterrence is akin to this line of thinking.