“Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…”

"Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You..."“Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…”

1961 – 1973

The seminal line of perhaps the most powerful inaugural address ever given by a US president, President Kennedy ushered in an era of American confidence and resolve during the Cold War. Popular with American youth, Kennedy inspired a renewed dedication for public service both with ambitious goals for government sponsored science and youth oriented public service like the Peace Corps. His call for selfless dedication to the needs of the nation reflected the passion of a restless generation of young Americans eager to make their mark upon the world.

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


The standard way to get rid of this is to play it on the last Action Round, when hopefully the US has already taken care of all its problematic cards and has nothing left to discard.

But before you do so, you should consider whether it’s possible that a) the US knows you have it, or b) the US is still holding on to Lone Gunman or a bad scoring card.  Many experienced US players sometimes hold onto bad cards in the Mid War in hopes of a USSR Ask Not… that will save them from Lone Gunman / bad scoring cards.

The best “double agent” trick here is if the US sees you have Ask Not… in your hand (via CIA Created), assumes you’ll play it, and then you instead make a vicious AR7 play that forces a response from them using the very card they had hoped to discard.

Regardless, I rarely space this event.  I really don’t want the US to draw it in their hand, even in the Late War.  Sooner or later there’ll be a time when you can safely play this on AR7 knowing that there is not much the US can discard.


An absolute life-saver for the US, and potentially one of the most powerful cards in the game depending on what you’re discarding.  When I draw this, I hold onto it from turn to turn, potentially even using the China Card to hold more bad cards, so that I can assemble together the worst possible hand to discard.  Generally this means Lone Gunman and bad scoring cards, plus some combination of unpleasant USSR events like We Will Bury You, Muslim Revolution, and OPEC.  (Yes, this means that I am holding onto President Kennedy’s inaugural speech to get rid of Lee Harvey Oswald.  Got a problem, history?)  If there’s anything I can even remotely deal with, I will try to deal with it without enlisting the services of President Kennedy.

When I do finally discard to Ask Not…, I usually also discard weak low Ops neutral events (goodbye, Summit), or sometimes even low Ops US events if they aren’t helpful (e.g., Sadat Expels Soviets if I already control Egypt).  Sometimes I’ll hold onto a high Ops starred USSR event that I don’t mind triggering, or would rather trigger than send back into the deck, but those are rare.  U-2 Incident and Cultural Revolution are perhaps the only ones that comes to mind.

If I don’t have Ask Not…, I try to keep it in my mind.  If holding Lone Gunman or a  killer scoring card, I will sometimes hold onto it until AR7 (as described above) and hope for a miracle discard.

If somehow Ask Not… ends up in the discard, remember that it is potentially a great target for SALT Negotiations and/or Star Wars if necessary.

Finally, keep in mind that Ask Not is potentially a suicide card — not DEFCON suicide, but if you draw more scoring cards than you have Action Rounds available.  And even if it isn’t immediate suicide, discarding when you don’t need to at the end of a turn can sometimes force you into doing something that you would not rather do.  Exercise caution, therefore, when you are given the option of discarding with just two cards and one play left.

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8 Responses to “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…”

  1. pietshaq says:

    I remember committing suicide once by discarding too many cards and drawing too many scoring cards 🙂 I wonder whether this card is worth combining with Our Man in Tehran as US or the number of ops to spare is too huge?

    Did you ever play this card as US for ops?

  2. dedaan999 says:

    Yes, I did with huge success. I needed the 3 OP in the last action round to repair a Russian Chna Card attack. I received Ask not back in turn 10 and was able to discard Lone Gunman, WWBY, OPEC and ME Scoring, which saved me the victory. But I have to admit that it was pure luck that I got it back…

  3. Michael says:

    I totally committed DEFCON suicide when my USSR opponent played it. I was already going to be short a card due to a UN card+Decolonization play and no China Card; and drew a bad scoring card and WWBY, and had to play both–at DEFCON 2. Very bad luck.

    • juan says:

      Same thing happened to me: USSR played JFK on AR7, and I discarded the only Soviet card I had (Berlin Wall from the promo cards) only to get Lone Gunman. Learned this lesson the hard way…

  4. Pingback: Twilight Struggle: The Cold War Revisited – TabletopArt

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