diet coke for breakfast

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Posted by Matthew

Apparently, the EU has deemed it necessary to build its own version of the GPS network. I find this simultaneously amusing and sad. I've often thought that the existence of a US military controled GPS must really rankle in various non-US peoples... I mean something so damn usefull which now everyone uses being invented, built, owned and operated by the US. So okay now they are going to spend billions building their own... and its going to be civilian managed and more accurate for civilian uses... great... reducing the leverage the US Military has from their own system... so now in a war situation its no longer an exclusive commodity... Fair enough, its one thing if you build this for your own use, but to let everybody use it without having some more serious control on a tool like that just seems a little irresponsible. Still that's just a minor gripe since the strategic importance of the GPS has been far outstripped by its day to day practicality and PR value... It would take WW4 for the military to acctually turn it off.

Anyway, I'm sure the "real" reason behind this is simple inter-European politics... a joint space program keeps people working together (the reason we fund the ISS afterall is just to keep Russia and others working with us on something benign, keep the backchannels open, etc.) and a GPS has great PR value... even if its rather unecessary.


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