The computer has given Italy a basic setup. For Italy, everything is a compromise. If the computer is thinking about declaring war on the first turn (it won’t) it needs to provide a legitimate threat to France. Otherwise it needs to defend North Africa against an aggressive British player.
In this game, Britain will not declare war on Italy.
Long term strategy has two goals against the Italians. First, to conquer North Africa as quickly as possible. This leads towards the second goal, Italian Surrender in early 1943.
The additional aspect is that Britain needs to avoid proliferate spending because of North Africa. BRP’s are precious after France falls and submarines are lurking. By sweeping North Africa clean ASAP, Britain can avoid a protracted expense. Obviously a good Axis player (not the AI) knows this and will combine both strategy and tactics to keep the British threatened enough to fight in North Africa, but not push them out completely. To have any realistic chance of winning, SW must really knock on Britain’s BRP’s and one way to do that is make them spend like drunken sailors to protect strategic assets, namely Suez.
In this case, Italy has taken the standard “look busy but more busy than we can really be” approach, and it tells me that there will be no DOW on Turn 1.