I regularly play against a particular opponent who is strong with the force (I'd always rather play against someone better than me tbh... you can interpret this as either 'wanting to be challenged' or 'masochism' as you prefer...
) and the same situation crops up in many of our (online) games.
T1AR1USSR - he coups Iran and ends with influence there and Defcon at 4.
T1AR1US - I counter-coup and retake Iran, Defcon is now at 3.
Then, instead of counter-counter-couping on T1AR2, he'll leave things as they are, Defcon-wise. If I take Pakistan, he'll take Afghanistan.
I know that generally the US wants to avoid taking Defcon to 3 but whether or not I'll do so is largely dependent on my opening hand (and even with the threat of Vietnam Revolts et al, isn't it still better to try and retake Iran and secure the Iron Triangle? Which is the greater imperative here?)
I'd be interested to hear people's general thoughts and opinions on any or all of the above, but the $64,000 question is - what do I do now about Defcon? I know from experience that if I leave it at 3, so will he, meaning T2 begins at Defcon 4 and he can Coup (very possibly with the China Card) in Asia, to great effect (bye-bye Pakistan or Thailand). However, the only real alternative - wasting OPs on couping Iraq, purely to lower Defcon, at a time when the US needs all the OPs it can get (and has already met its Military Ops requirement) - seems blatantly sub-optimal.
I'd welcome your advice and opinions regarding all of the above!