I know this sounds like a silly question, but the rules are kinda awkwardly worded and I've seen some videos of Twilight Struggle where this restriction is overlooked.
From the rules (section 6.2.1):
To attempt a Realignment roll, the acting player need not have any Influence in the target country or in any adjacent country — although this improves the chance of success greatly.
This sounds perfectly clear, except the added last bit which confuses me. However, the next section (6.2.2) says:
Each player modifies his die roll:
• +1 for each adjacent controlled country,
• +1 if they have more Influence in the target country than their opponent,
• +1 if your Superpower is adjacent to the target country.
Why claim it's "each player"? And then the following example says:
The US player targets North Korea for Realignment. There are 3 USSR Influence points in North Korea, while the US player has none. The US player has no modifiers—he does not ￼control any adjacent countries and has less Influence in North Korea then the Soviets.
Why mention it at all? Shouldn't the example say "the US player has no modifiers because as the acting player he may not have any influence in that country or adjacent countries"?
Section 6.2.2 is even more confusing by stating:
Each player rolls a die and the high roller may remove the difference between the rolls from their opponent’s Influence in the target country.
Shouldn't one of the players (the acting one) not have any influence at all in the first place?
Obviously the wording here is poor. But how should we play this?