SALT Negotiations

SALT NegotiationsSALT Negotiations

1969, 1972

Initiated during the Johnson Administration, and completed by President Nixon and Secretary Brezhnev, the first Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) treaty essentially sought to limit the number of nuclear platforms, and restrict defensive systems that threatened the system of mutual deterrence. The success of this treaty led to the initiation of a second round of negotiations or SALT II. The diplomatic wrangling over this treaty began under President Nixon, and was completed in 1979 by President Carter and Secretary Brezhnev. SALT II provided broad limits on new strategic weapons platforms and banned mobile ICBMs. Owing to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the treaty was never ratified. President Reagan asserted that the Soviets were not complying with the terms of SALT II in 1986 and withdrew from the treaty.

Time: Mid War
Side: Neutral
Ops: 3
Removed after event: Yes

SALT Negotiations is not quite at the level of the “Big Three” Mid War neutral events (Brush War, Junta, and ABM Treaty), but it’s pretty close.  The event has three parts:

  1. It raises DEFCON by 2 levels.  This is an easy way to get out of a DEFCON suicide situation, though beware your opponent dropping DEFCON twice in one move (via Duck and Cover or We Will Bury You).  It is also if you desperately need to coup a battleground, even if that means letting your opponent get in the first coup (and letting him coup Asia).
  2. It gives coups a -1 modifier.  Occasionally useful against Nuclear Subs, and somewhat eases the volatility of raising DEFCON.
  3. It retrieves a card from the discard.  This is obviously the most important part of the event. Here, SALT tends to favor the US.  Obviously both sides are interested in grabbing cards like ABM Treaty, Brush War, or Red Scare/Purge, but the US also has Grain Sales to Soviets, Colonial Rear Guards, Ussuri River Skirmish, East European Unrest (if in the Late War), and The Voice of America.  Usually the USSR has OPEC and Decolonization (occasionally De-Stalinization, if early in the Mid War).  (Note that although it is usually used on recurring events, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use SALT for a starred event that your opponent discarded.)
  4. A second benefit of retrieving this card is that it lets you hold an extra card to next turn.  This can be critical if you need to hold a card and also discard a card from hand (e.g., with Blockade).

Note that SALT Negotiations is most effective on Turn 6, and least effective on Turn 7.  And it is often a card I hold from turn to turn, waiting for something good to show up.  I am hesitant to play this for Ops, because I don’t like the risk that my opponent will draw it in the Late War, where there are even more events to choose from (e.g., East European Unrest).

SALTing for ABM Treaty deserves its own mention.  For starters, it’s ABM Treaty, one of the best events in the game.  In addition, it either gives you two coups in exchange for one of his, or it means you can also get in a DEFCON 4 coup.  Finally, it’s a great trick for the US to pull on AR7: play SALT for ABM Treaty, watch DEFCON rise to 5, and then headline ABM Treaty to engage in a rare Europe realign or coup.  This is one of the rare Twilight Struggle combos that cannot be stopped by the other player under any circumstances.

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11 Responses to SALT Negotiations

  1. Ormay Tamas says:

    Once I headlined this event as US and I reclaimed Red Scare/Purge.Seeing this my opponent played Missile Envy on his AR1.I had no other 4 OPS card… Dang!

  2. Mack says:

    If Salt is played while Brezhnev Doctrine is in effect, and a 4 Ops card is played for a coup, do the Brezhnev and Salt modifiers cancel each other out such that the coup attempt is +4, or does Salt -1 modifier get applied after Brezhnev is resolved such that the coup attempt is only +3?

    • theory says:

      I’m not sure if there’s a definitive ruling. I believe that Brezhnev Doctrine is simultaneous with Red Scare/Purge, and that both take precedence over SALT Negotiations, so that the coup attempt is only +3.

  3. Zosete says:

    Brezhnev modifies card ops and SALT modifies coup rolls. Different things. You use your modified card (4 max) and apply the coup penalty.

  4. Vitaly says:

    Once I was USA. USSR 5-8 controlled France. I used SALT Negotiations at round 7, DEFCON improved to 4 and I took Grain Sales to Soviets. Next turn, DEFCON 5. I headline Grain Sales and realigned France. Then I got France 5-0. That`s how to use SALT efficiently.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I also use it on Turn 7 to prepare w/ East European Unrest.

  6. RJ says:

    As Soviets with The Reformer in play: play Glasnost for its 4 Ops, then use SALT on AR7 to pull it out of the discard. Either the US has to spend that last card on a battleground coup instead of an AR7 play, or you get 4 Ops to realign in Europe in the headline plus AR1 to take advantage of it. And you get a late game rarity, a completely safe 4 Ops that doesn’t lose you anything.

  7. Alan Sykes says:

    Opponent plays Missile Envy and get Red Scare so thats in play. Next he plays SALT Negotiations and reclaims Red Scare from the discard pile (even though it’s currently in play). Then he plays Red Scare again. So now Red Scare is in play twice giving -2 to my ops. Seriously?

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope. Red Scare is still in play that round, so you can’t take it from the discard pile to use it two rounds in a row.

  8. Anon says:

    I’m a little surprised nobody has mentioned what is one of the more common uses. The headline Red Scare/Purge AR1 Beartrap/Quagmire combo. If you have one of the pieces and a SALT in your hand, you can pull the other out of the discard on AR7, and hold both through till next turn.

    In my opinion this is generally quite a bit worse than just SALTing for an ABM, but oddly I see it more often while playing online

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