After the end of the Cold War, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and others gave up weapons of mass destruction in the hope that this policy would open doors to international acceptance, trade and economic growth. On the other side of the argument lay Iraq and North Korea (and Iran through the Western prism) suffering under sanctions and isolation, precisely because they had these weapons. This makes the warning from Ukraine’s new prime minister Aseniy Yatsenyuk even more poignant, telling the the UN Security Council: “It would be difficult to convince anyone on the globe not to have nuclear weapons.”
How wrong is he? Moscow would win a nuclear war against Ukraine like swatting a gnat, but would possession of these weapons have been enough to deter it from taking Crimea?