Quickly following up the previous post, CIA (and U.S. Spec Ops) presence has been reported in Ukraine, and really it wouldn't be the first time that the U.S. has blown up oil & gas infrastructure (both in Siberia and Nicaragua; no easy task, mind). Anyway, the hostage is dead, so who did it is mostly moot, given that countries will simply finger the other Team. The CIA has other places to be too, but with Iran cannily raising an incel task force against their feminist uprising, it's not clear how long that project will last either. Moving on...
Turn 12, Action Round 3 (Team Red)
Please allow for sincere Hawaiian salute
(Original sources: twilightstrategy.com, r/Conservative)
Team Red plays OPEC for 3 Ops, as they seek to shore up their position in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Note that playing the Event now would yield 2 VP for Team Red (for Iran and Venezuela), which is somewhat below-par by the rule of thumb that 1 Ops is worth about 1 VP, with Ops being more valuable earlier in the game* (as is the case here). Given this, placing Influence is probably the theoretically-sound move.
1 Ops: +1 Influence in Saudi Arabia (3/2). As telegraphed a month ago, OPEC+ BTFO-ed the White House's plea to maintain oil production, as they cut their daily quota by 2 million barrels, with Europe due to freeze and gas prices taking off in the U.S. once more. With this, a furious White House has accused the cartel of aligning with Russia against the West (i.e. Team Blue**) but from how their best answer thus far has been limping back to Maduro in Venezuela, the WSJ seems spot on in declaring that "Biden got rolled by Saudi Arabia".
At this, there are some angry mumblings about a Coup from some Team Blue members, but that'll have to wait...
1 Ops: +1 Influence in Gulf States (3/2). Likewise, both erstwhile U.S. "major non-NATO allies" in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (notably Muslim themselves) rejected Team Blue's call to condemn China for abuses in Xinjiang, as a U.N. Human Rights Council vote on bringing the matter to debate was handily defeated 17-19, with eleven abstentions. Not only that, there was rare applause after the voting result was revealed, as a majority appeared to heed China's warning that they could be targeted next by Team Blue hypocrites.
Even the densest The Greatest (Liar) Game participant should have realized by now that all these diplomatic maneuvers are simply a part of a far bigger Cold War-style bloc conflict, which has had the Gayas in the Middle East and South-East Asia huddle together for safety already. Despite nervous claims from Team Blue media on the "limits of the SCO" and OPEC+ supposedly driving the U.S. and China together (I understand that Biden's pardoning pot possession, but this must go beyond normal consumption), China's pitch for global leader status at the U.N. General Assembly while declaring the U.S. as "the largest spreader of disinformation", might indicate that they're convinced of the disintegration of U.S. hegemony.
1 Ops: +1 Influence in Yugoslavia (0/2). The European Parliament has requested the termination of Serbia's accession negotiations with the European Union, understandably in the sense that they look likely to be a second "eye" - in the Go analogy - for Team Red, were they to join. As it is, Hungary remains holding up the NATO bids of Sweden and Finland, with Turkey now back to possibly objecting too. I guess that call to return Crimea didn't result in the desired kickbacks after all.
Here, it might be added that OPEC would have been unplayable for the Event were North Sea Oil in effect, which it certainly wasn't with the solar panel huggers in the ascendancy. The United Kingdom's return to drilling (after BoJo's windfall tax gambit) might yet relieve some of Europe's urgent energy woes, and not a moment too soon.
[*Advanced players would probably want to estimate expected VP (xVP) for their specific game state, whereas the Chinese "sankt" school would prize VP over Ops, and Space Race progress, for a quick knockout. As to whether this correlates to real-life "wolf warrior diplomacy" and open aggression from Team Red (Russia), I leave to the reader to decide.]
[**Then again, OPEC being a Team Red card, and not a neutral card, is hardly a coincidence or oversight by the designers.]
Next: Sure Looks Like A Declaration Of Intent
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