1949 – ?
Not a concept unique to the Cold War, the term “puppet governments” refers to a regime that holds power due to, and with the support of, either the Soviet Union or the United States. A derisive term, it is almost always used by the opponents of a state to undermine the government’s legitimacy. Both the Soviets and the Americans would apply the term to any closely allied state, but it might be better understood in the context of the Diem government in South Vietnam or Mariam government of Ethiopia.
Time: Mid War
Removed after event: Yes
Early in the Mid War, this is usually a must-space because it gives the US access to otherwise inaccessible battlegrounds (like a poor man’s De-Stalinization).
But even later in the Mid War, this is still a harsh event to deal with. The US can use it to take a bunch of non-battlegrounds, thus limiting any possibility of you scoring Domination. Worse, it’s never clear whether you should use the Ops before or after the event: if you use it after, then the US has more targets for the influence. But if you use it before, you’re allowing them “consecutive actions” by letting the US drop 3 influence into countries like Colombia, Saharan States, or Nicaragua for realigns on their next action.
So I usually try to space it. It’s fairly low on the priority list behind Grain Sales to Soviets and The Voice of America, of course, but I would rather the US play this event than I. If I’m unable to space it, I try to make absolutely sure that there’s no semi-useful country out there for Puppet Governments (Afghanistan, Colombia) before playing it to coup back the most useful country that the US takes.
This is the equivalent of De-Stalinization, except it gets pretty lame pretty quickly. In fact, I find its efficacy is often directly correlated with whether Decolonization/De-Stalinization have been played.
If I’m playing this for the event, it’s either because I can place the influence in otherwise-inaccessible battlegrounds (not Mexico), I have a plan that involves controlling multiple non-battlegrounds (i.e. a headline threatening AR1 realignment, or denying an Africa Domination), or sometimes both.
If the USSR triggers it and all the obvious spots are taken, some frequently-overlooked countries to drop influence into include Czechoslovakia, Peru, and Tunisia, all of which offer some less-common realignment possibilities.