And that's how they do it. On the face of it, the Rafale does make sense (although so does the F-18). It is cheaper and common equipment would make it easier to operate together, which isn't such a bad thing now and again. And there is also sense in having a capability independent of the Septics ... you never known, we might want to sack Washington once more. But the political price for all this is totally unacceptable ... and therein lies the rub. We are being offered a bill of goods but no one is telling us the real price (not that they are actually hiding it!).
There is a massive difference (imo) between interoperability and interdependence. We were sold the former but will get the latter. NATO is about interoperability. The EU Rapid Reaction Farce is about interdependence.Rafales can be launched from US carriers
and the F-18 can be launched from the French one. That is interoperability. Sharing carriers is interdependence. Given the interdependence movement from Major onwards that you highlight why have we faffed about with the jump jet F35? It would make our carriers useless for French aircraft and their carriers all but useless for 'ours'. A long game to con voters and bounce the RN into getting bog standard carriers due to 'cost constraints' or just pie in the sky procurement again? As long as procurement remains wasteful and disjointed the case for greater integration is sustained. It is a very expensive way of achieving what our 'betters' surely know would see them not get re-elected if they had simply announced a speedy euro-military integration and slashed the MoD budget.
Such integration with Europe would be okay if we actually threw our weight around like the others do but our leaders never do. Foreign leaders exploit their national interest to promote their self interest - they make themselves popular. Our leaders just shirk their responsibilities to us and make themselves unpopular.