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
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:
- 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).
- It gives coups a -1 modifier. Occasionally useful against Nuclear Subs, and somewhat eases the volatility of raising DEFCON.
- 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.)
- 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.