There shall be a firm, inviolable and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship between His Britannic Majesty, his heirs and successors, and the United States of America; and between their respective countries, territories, cities, towns and people of every degree, without exception of persons or places: The Jay Treaty, 1794.
It all seemed such a good idea at the time. Instead of just relying on the great and powerful United States’ Global Positioning System to help co-ordinate the military efforts of our brave men and women during any future potential skirmishes, we would go off and build our very own satellite navigation system.
So with the help of our friends and allies in the European Union, that’s just what we decided to do: the Galileo system was born.
The technical folks at the Pentagon were even kind enough to fly over to help us iron out the technical specification of the thing so that it wouldn’t interfere with their own GPS system.
And, for a while, things were looking good. Not only would the new system relieve us from our dependency on the US technology, it would create gazillions of jobs in the European Union too – just like the Airbus had done in the nineties.
But then, some bright spark at the EU had the idea of inviting the Chinese to contribute large sums of money to fund the Galileo party. And that’s where it all went a bit pear shaped.
Because, you see, the guys with the pips on their shoulders at the Pentagon had more than a few reservations about the Chinese participation in the Galileo affair. After all, it doesn’t take a satellite to see just how close that little old town of Beijing is to that not so nice holiday resort of Pyongyang in North Korea.
And so there was much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands brought about by the terrifying thought that the new European technology might fall into the wrong hands where it could be used against the US during a conflict.
But there was little that the chaps in the US could do about the development of the new Galileo system. It was outside their jurisdiction.
But if they couldn’t stop it being deployed, they could certainly make sure that it didn’t work. Especially as their technical chaps had worked so hard analysing the specification in the first place.
So they sent a few of their top blokes up to Yukon near Fairbanks in Alaska to see what they could come up with. And before too long, they came up with a simple retrofit to their own GPS satellites that would knock out the entire Galileo system at the wave of a Presidential hand. All in the name of the homeland.
But the Europeans caught wind of this most ignoble effort by the Americans. And guess what? Their satellites were born with a similar capability.
And then, of course, the inevitable happened. An oil rich middle eastern country with the clear intent of manufacturing centrifuge parts for uranium enrichment was deemed by The President to be a potential harbinger of war on the west.
So, under nightfall, the US marines went in to perform a strategic confiscation operation, guided by their very own GPS system. Supported by UK paratroopers, navigating via the brand spanking new Galileo system.
Unfortunately, the operation was somewhat less than successful because both systems had been ‘turned off’ as a strategic defensive measure.