Do we really want our most dangerous potential enemy controlling the Panama Canal?
"Communist China is the greatest emerging threat to United States security," observes retired Coast Guard Captain G. Russell Evans. "It has the largest army in the world, may soon have the second largest economy, and is rapidly building up its navy and air force." Evans is alarmed that "the Clinton administration has allowed allies of Red China . . . to take over the Canal ports and possibly secure other critical military facilities at the Panama Canal, only 900 miles from the United States!"
In a new book called Death Knell of the Panama Canal? published by the National Security Center, with an introduction by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer (USN Ret.), Evans examines the serious consequences of this shocking development. "America will lose control of this vital choke point, through which massive amounts of shipping and our U.S. Navy pass between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans," he warns. "The ports of Balboa, which controls the shipping traffic from the Pacific Ocean, and Cristobal, which controls shipping from the Atlantic, will be run by Communist Chinese allies. The U.S. Navy could be denied access through the Canal ports, which have been critical to our military efforts in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf conflicts."
Evans also warns that "Red Chinese J-11 attack jets, if launched from air facilities in Panama, could strike the mainland United States. Each J-11 can drop over 13,000 pounds of bombs," he observes, "and China will have over 100 J-11s in the next few years. This is the potential should Red China muscle into U.S. air bases in Panama," Evans explains. He adds that "Communist China will also have a critical base for its warships in our backyard with the Balboa and Cristobal ports."
The Panamanian government appears to be motivated primarily by greed, but malice toward the United States undoubtedly plays a part as well. "In their zeal to reap the financial benefits from this deal, the government of Panama has thrown caution and security to the wind," says Evans. "Worse, they have disregarded the Panama Neutrality treaty giving United States vessels 'expeditious passage' through the Canal and their own Constitution which requires a plebiscite on Canal matters."
Captain Evans bemoans "the complete lack of interest in the United States government to protect its national security and treaty rights. There is a disturbing neglect of security matters in the Clinton administration," he charges, "in refusing to move to protect our clear and vital interests in Panama and in refusing to assert American rights spelled out in the Panama treaties." Evans urges Congress to "act immediately to halt the Communist Chinese infiltration into the Panama Canal and reassert American security interests in this vital waterway." Congress should also investigate the impact of foreign campaign contributions on the administration's policy of either ignoring or actively facilitating these potential threats to our national security.