Sadat Expels Soviets

Sadat Expels SovietsSadat Expels Soviets

1972

Anwar Sadat was an early participant in anti-colonial activities against the British-sponsored Egyptian monarchy. He became vice president under Nasser, and inherited a deteriorating relationship with the USSR when he transitioned into the presidency. The Soviets refused Egyptian demands for increased economic and military aid, and the Egyptians were trying hard to keep a foot in both camps. In reaction, Sadat expelled the 5,000 Soviet military advisors and 15,000 air force personnel in Egypt. After the brokered Mideast peace following 1973 war, Sadat became convinced of the need for closer relations with Washington.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 1
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

Another in a long line of annoying, unspaceable US Mid War 1 Op cards.  Coupled with Camp David Accords, Sadat gives Egypt to the US, throwing a wrench in your Middle East Scoring or OPEC plans.  But you don’t really have any other options — sometime in the Mid War, Sadat almost certainly will be triggered.  So it’s better to plan for him in advance: if the US breaks control of Egypt with Camp David Accords, I don’t bother reinforcing it if I’m going to be expelled by Sadat soon afterwards.

For the most part Sadat can be effectively neutralized by keeping either Nasser or Muslim Revolution in the deck.

As US

This is a great event if the USSR controls Egypt, and almost always worth triggering.  It is better to play Camp David Accords first, then Sadat, to keep the Sword of Damocles Sadat hanging over the USSR’s head.

Posted in Mid War, US Events | Tagged | 1 Comment

Nixon Plays the China Card

Nixon Plays the China CardNixon Plays the China Card

1972

Realizing that normalization of relations with China was key for US withdrawal from South Vietnam, Nixon sought a summit between himself and Mao. Nixon dispatched Henry Kissinger to secret talks with the PRC’s foreign minister Chou En-lai to lay the groundwork for the visit. Capitalizing on deteriorating Sino-Soviet relations, Nixon scored perhaps the greatest diplomatic coup of the Cold War. The Shanghai Communique that followed the summit danced around several fundamental disagreements between the two countries, including Taiwan and Vietnam. However, it was clear that the Soviet Union could no longer depend upon Chinese support in regional conflicts. While Nixon expressed his desire to fully normalize relations between the two countries quickly, Watergate interrupted these plans. It would fall to Jimmy Carter to restore full diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

An annoying China Card event with a choose-your-poison dilemma.  The best solution to this dilemma is to ignore it altogether by sending Nixon to space; if forced to play it, I would usually rather fork over 2 VPs than the China Card, but of course this may depend on the state of the scoring track.

As US

A good event.  2 Ops for 2 VPs is a strong trade, particularly towards the end of the Mid War, and the China Card itself is worth at least 2 VPs (because possession at the end of the game gives +1 VP for you rather than your opponent).  The main drawback is that you only get the China Card facedown, thus depriving you of an Action Round of Ops, but if you have an AR to spare, it is worth playing.

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OAS Founded

OAS FoundedOAS Founded

1948, 1967

Founded with the specific aim of promoting democracy in the western hemisphere, the OAS has been an occasionally useful body for the promotion of US interests within the hemisphere. It provided international legitimacy for US actions during both the Cuban Missile Crisis and the US invasion of Grenada. Trade promotion and economic development were added to the OAS charter in Buenos Aires in 1967. The revision of the charter also established the existence of permanent OAS diplomatic venues with the creation of a General Assembly in Washington, DC.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 1
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

Several things combine to make this one of the nastiest US cards in the game for the USSR to deal with:

  1. For starters, 1 Op is obviously not enough to offset the 2 influence.  It also makes it unspaceable.
  2. If neither side is in South America, then it is terrible to just hand it over to the US with such an event.
  3. Even if both sides are already in South America, OAS Founded has so many different targets for its influence that it is therefore nearly impossible to preemptively defend against (like the US can with Allende).
  4. In particular, all of the 2-stability battlegrounds in the Americas are vulnerable to OAS Founded.  If Brazil is 0/2, then OAS Founded will make it either 2/2 or 2/3, and then a 3 Ops card is enough to take it over.

Accordingly, unless one side or the other has thoroughly locked up the Americas, I hold onto it until I can find one of the following ways of discarding it:

  • If neither side is in South America, it’s sometimes worth a speculative gamble to headline OAS Founded, thereby giving you a juicy coup target on AR1.  This could backfire horribly, though, if the US lowers DEFCON in the headline, denying you the coup, or if the US puts influence into Chile, whereupon you probably have to realign Chile instead (and give the US the battleground coup).
  • Brezhnev Doctrine allows you to space the card or repair its damage with 2 Ops instead of 1.  The latter is usually preferable, but the former can be better if the US isn’t in South America yet.
  • Five Year Plan, in addition to being able to magically discard scoring cards, can also magically discard OAS Founded if played on AR7 holding only these two cards.  It will still trigger the event, but now you have 3 Ops with which to deal with OAS Founded, rather than just 1.

As US

This is a gigantic pain for the USSR to deal with, and so it’s nice if you can return it to the draw deck for the USSR to draw.  I often find, however, that I can put it to better use either as a normal event (if neither side is in South America and DEFCON has dropped to 2), or as a particularly painful AR7 play.  It is also a nice headline by threatening an advantageous AR1 scoring.

Posted in Mid War, US Events | Tagged | 5 Comments

Latin American Death Squads

Latin American Death SquadsLatin American Death Squads

1960 – 1989

Throughout the Cold War, both left and rightwing governments supported reactionary regimes that resorted to disproportionate force when reacting to threats to that government. While this was a particular penchant of rightwing governments in Latin America, leftist governments also proved their deft use of brutality. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Columbia remain the most harrowing examples of the practice of government sponsored murder. President Osorio of Guatemala once infamously remarked “If it is necessary to turn the country into a graveyard in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.”

Time: Mid War
Side: Neutral
Ops: 2
Removed after event: No

A somewhat speculative headline, Latin American Death Squads is most useful when engaged in a battle for Central America (as the coup targets are better than in South America).  It can also be used as a prophylactic defense for one of your battlegrounds in case your opponent gets the battleground coup.

The main limit to its usefulness is that you don’t really need that many non-battleground coups.  Therefore, events that allow more battleground coups by either side (SALT Negotiations, How I Learned to Stop Worrying, ABM Treaty, Nuclear Subs, etc.) all make LADS more useful, provided that South America/Central America is yet to be scored.

Posted in Mid War, Neutral Events | Tagged | 6 Comments

John Paul II Elected Pope

John Paul II Elected PopeJohn Paul II Elected Pope

1978

The first non-Italian to be elected Pope since the 16th Century, Pope John Paul II represented a rejuvenation of Catholic influence upon the world stage. The United States gave formal diplomatic recognition to the Papacy for the first time in its history. As a Pope elected from communist Poland, John Paul II presented an enormous challenge for Poland’s leadership. To criticize the new papacy would only alienate the public, to embrace it would be antithetical to communist doctrine. Furthermore, John Paul II was known to be an ardent critic of communism. John Paul’s election marked a turning point in internal Polish political dynamics that would culminate in the Solidarity movement. Mikhail Gorbachev remarked that the fall of the iron curtain would have been impossible without John Paul II.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

This isn’t really a problem to deal with influence-wise, since most Soviet Premiers already overprotect Poland with some mixture of Comecon/Warsaw Pact/opening setup influence.

The real issue is Solidarity, which can prove quite annoying later on.  John Paul II won’t control Poland for the US, but Solidarity (coupled with East European Unrest) can.

Therefore, at best, this event is only a wash for you, and at worst, it creates further problems for you down the line.  This makes John Paul II a very attractive recruit for the Soviet cosmonaut program.

As US

For the reasons listed above, I try to trigger John Paul II so that the USSR has to worry about Solidarity later.  It’s a nice AR7 play, especially if you hold Truman Doctrine, because Poland is not only adjacent to the USSR but also a key realignment modifier on East Germany when Tear Down This Wall arrives in the Late War.  It gets even better with NORAD in play, because it provides another good place for NORAD influence.

But I wouldn’t over-invest into Eastern Europe until I’m sure that Warsaw Pact is safely disposed of.  Trigger John Paul II, make the USSR sweat a little bit, but don’t immediately pour in influence unless you know you can’t be thrown out by the Warsaw Pact.

Posted in Mid War, US Events | Tagged | 5 Comments

Grain Sales to Soviets

Grain Sales to SovietsGrain Sales to Soviets

1973 – 1980, 1981 – ?

In 1973, difficult climatic circumstances and dramatic crop failures prompted President Nixon to allow for massive grain sales to the Soviet Union. While a blow to Russian pride, the program was nevertheless a step towards normalized relations between the superpowers. Additionally, it provided an enduring domestic lobby to pressure for continued thawing in economic relations between the two countries. In 1980, President Carter suspended the program in retaliation for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Shipments were resumed a year later under President Reagan. This culminated in a treaty with the Soviets, with the Soviets promising to buy 9 million tons of US grains per year.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: No

As USSR

There is no card higher on the send-to-space priority list than Grain Sales.  Even if it weren’t a DEFCON suicide card, the fact that it cuts your handsize makes it almost always unplayable.

Being hit by Red Scare/Purge while you have this in hand is crippling.  This card (and others like Voice of America) is a reason why the USSR tries to hang onto the China Card during the Mid War, so that they can hold multiple cards from turn to turn.

SALT Negotiations is a good way to try to defuse Grain Sales — either you raise DEFCON and therefore can play it without triggering suicide, or you get to draw an extra card from the deck and can hold an extra card to next turn.

As US

This the best US event in the game.  It is certainly by far the best all-around headline for the US: it conducts Operations, it cuts the USSR handsize, it can lead to a DEFCON win, it’s recurring, it’s unplayable by the USSR, and it’s impossible to backfire on you.

I almost always try to headline this, even if I have NORAD in play — the only possible exception is if I’m headlining Red Scare/Purge and have Bear Trap in hand.  In that case I will save Grain Sales for the next turn headline (but ideally trigger it before Turn 7).

Keep in mind that the handsize reduction for the Soviets is just as painful as the Operations you get to conduct; accordingly, I almost always take the card and play it rather than return it.  (Also remember that because you’re just playing it like you’re playing any other card, you can do things like send it to space.)  Even taking a neutral 1 Ops is often superior to returning the card because of the handsize problems.

There are a very few instances, however, where I would return the card:

  • Scoring cards, assuming that the USSR is unlikely to improve its position, are a good candidate to return so that you can actually conduct Operations.
  • Extremely strong USSR events like Brezhnev Doctrine or Decolonization, IF you can’t or don’t want to space it.  For example, if I draw We Will Bury You, I typically just keep it and send it to space, but if I already have a card in my hand I need to space, or if I really need to conduct Operations, then I will return it to the USSR.
  • Harsh US events, like OAS Founded, are sometimes better left as crises for the USSR player (assuming he can’t space it).
  • 1 Op events, if you desperately need 2 Ops for some particular reason.  (This is rare.)
Posted in Mid War, US Events | Tagged | 40 Comments

Puppet Governments

Puppet GovernmentsPuppet Governments

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
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

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.

As US

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.

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Camp David Accords

Camp David AccordsCamp David Accords

1978

Following a lull in the Middle East peace process caused by the 1976 presidential elections, President Carter entered office with a burst of new energy on the subject. Through direct personal appeal, Carter was able to bring ultimate resolution to the Yom Kippur War and completely change the dynamic of the Middle Eastern question. Israel and Egypt normalized relations and a framework for Middle East peace was agreed to. Years later, this would allow for the Oslo accord, and the Jordanian–Israeli Peace Agreement. Additionally, Carter also secured the complete realignment of Egypt. Once a Nasser led hotbed of anti-Western feeling, Egypt was to become one of America’s foremost allies in the region. Sadat would pay dearly for the leadership he showed during the talks. He was assassinated by Islamic radicals in 1981.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

An event on the border between spacing and not spacing: none of the effects by themselves are particularly harmful, but the combination of all three is a little bit irritating.  The influence is often not worth repairing: Sadat Expels Soviets will likely undo all the work you’ve done in Egypt.  But Camp David Accords gives the US halfway to control, and Sadat takes them the rest of the way.

As US

A nice event, and one I try to trigger.  It is especially nice when you have no influence in Egypt, since then Sadat Expels Soviets will give you Egypt instead of just putting it to 1/0.  Cancelling Arab-Israeli War is a small bonus, and 1 VP is 1 VP.

Posted in Mid War, US Events | Tagged | 6 Comments

Panama Canal Returned

Panama Canal ReturnedPanama Canal Returned

1970

Though widely criticized by the right domestically, the Carter administration’s decision to turn over the Panama Canal to Panama proved immensely popular with Latin America. The Canal was a vital strategic link for the United States navy both during the First and Second World Wars. However, by the time of the Korean War, the canal was no longer large enough to accommodate contemporary warships. With its utility to the U.S. military greatly diminished, while its propaganda value as a relic of American imperialism still on the rise, Carter realized that gradual hand-over of the canal was the best policy alternative.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 1
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

In many ways this is similar to Allende, with sides reversed.  If the US is already in South America, then it’s not a big deal: maybe buff up Panama/Venezuela a little bit before playing this, or don’t even bother if the US already controls both of those countries.  (Who cares about Costa Rica?)

But if the US isn’t in South America, and especially if you don’t yet have the region locked down, this is hugely problematic.  You could theoretically use the 1 Op to realign the US out of Venezuela, but your odds of success are only 27.78%.  A better use is often to headline Panama Canal Returned, and then try to coup Venezuela on AR1 (or, if you are concerned about the US dropping DEFCON in the headline, use the 1 Op of Panama Canal Returned on AR1 to coup Venezuela, but with only 1/2 chance of success).

As US

I normally use this for the event only when I need to establish access to South America, though of course I will be careful to do so only at DEFCON 2.  It can also be useful as an AR7 play to break USSR control of Venezuela or Panama (preferably both).

Posted in Mid War, US Events | Tagged | 12 Comments

Colonial Rear Guards

Colonial Rear GuardsColonial Rear Guards

1946 – 1988

The Cold War was instigated in the context of an evolving international system. As the world relinquished a multi-polar system comprised of polyglot empires, it replaced it with a bi-polar system dominated by continental nation states. Anti-colonial movements tended to have strong anti-western sentiments, as the foremost colonial powers were now in the western camp. However, the drive to independence was not uniform, nor uniformly successful. Several long rear-guard actions were fought by the colonial powers that either lengthened their stay or maintained a quasi-colonial relationship with the newly independent country. British intervention in Malaya (1948), the French resistance to Algerian independence (1954) and South African intransigence in Namibia (1966) all serve as examples of this aspect of the post colonial experience.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: No

As USSR

Almost always worth spacing as the USSR, since it adds 4 influence to low-stability countries and you only have 2 influence with which to respond.  Along with Nuclear Subs, it can flip a USSR-controlled Africa to capitalism very quickly.

As US

Identical to and yet weaker than Decolonization, Colonial Rear Guards doesn’t usually come out fast enough to lock up Africa or Southeast Asia.  But it’s still a very strong event: it can be used as a destabilizing headline or AR7 play if the USSR controls Africa and Southeast Asia.  If I don’t have immediate use for it, I tend to hold it or use it for overprotection insurance influence rather than the 2 Ops.

Normally the influence from this will be dumped into Africa, since Southeast Asia should no longer be very contested.  But I usually put at least one into Thailand (to threaten a China Card takeover), and then perhaps some into Philippines / Malaysia / Indonesia if Southeast Asia will be scored soon and those countries are still uncontrolled.  But the influence usually goes much farther in the 1-stability African battlegrounds.

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