“If we stand idly by … if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives, and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world.” Teddy Roosevelt
One of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World,” the Panama Canal has served, not just America, but opened up free trade to the whole world! Today, 340 million tons of cargo transit the Canal. It is what the late Charles Krauthammer called the “strategic Jewel” that raised America to “the rank of great power.”
The Canal has also been of immense military value. During the height of the WWII, when we found ourselves fighting on two fronts, the Canal became the most strategic point on the globe with over 65,000 US troops stationed on military bases that covered almost 90,000 acres. During the Cold War, the Canal became the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command but it was not to last.
After Castro seized control of Cuba, his Marxist-Leninist influence spilled over into Panama inflaming resentment toward America. Soon Panamanian students and Communist instigators were staging riots in the Canal Zone leading government to temporarily break off ties with the U.S. and President Johnson agreeing to negotiations that would eventually cede control of the Canal.
President Carter signed new treaties with Panama’s then dictator, Omar Torrijos, to not only hand the Canal over to Panama at the end of the 20th Century but to abolish the Canal Zone, a 10 mile wide, 40 miles long US controlled area that bisected the Republic of Panama. Unfortunately, this treaty didn’t just relinquish control to Panama.
Even before the final phase of the handover, a large government controlled Chinese corporation took over the American constructed ports at each end of the Canal, leaving the Communist nation in control of who could and could not enter and exit. While the Torrijos-Carter treaty did included a clause demanding “permanent neutrality and operation” of the canal, Torrijos chose to ignore it as a mere “suggestion.” There was no language in the treaty that would stop China or any other enemy of America from opening military bases, or stationing troops, or closing the Canal to US military traffic.
Today you can find Chinese military vessels anchored at former American ports in Panama, just as you can find warships sailing under the Chinese flag anchored off Cuba and Venezuela. Christopher O’Dea, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote in 2018 that “Chinese state owned shipping and construction companies have assembled a global network of commercial that can readily be converted to military bases….China clearing intends to militarize commercial facilities,” which would happen quickly in Panama.
When the circumstances are right, China can and will militarize both ends of the Canal and use it as a staging ground to attack the U.S. underbelly! With warships, submarines and bombers only 900 miles from Miami, China would be well positioned for such attacks. The potential threat to U.S. and world security posed by Panama’s decision to let China run the canal is difficult to fathom!
If you think China won’t do it, look at what they have already done in recent years – illegal trade practices, including the systematic theft of intellectual property. Look at the illegal takeover of the South China Sea and Hong Kong and the way they are attempting to steal land from India. Look at their aggression against Taiwan and the predatory lending to small countries using debt as a weapon to control. The Communist Party that runs China is not to be trusted. You can see that by their fruits.
America built the Panama Canal to the tune of $352 million, the equivalent of almost $1 billion in today’s dollars, and the Democrat Party basically gave it away. LBJ and Carter surrendered the canal and Republicans stood by and let it happen.
Few Americans are concerned about the canal today. What happened with Panama is very dangerous. And in the next few years, the world could well see just how dangerous it was.
“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Communist Party must command all guns, that way, no gun can be used to command the Party.” Mao Zedong
Source: China’s Most Dangerous Maneuver Ever Against America by Gerald Flurry, the Trumpet; The Panama Canal and the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, NPR; Lyndon B. Johnson: Foreign Affairs, UVA Miller Center.