Modernizing the Monroe Doctrine

By Charles H. Sherrill | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XII
THE PANAMA CANAL: ITS PART IN PAN-AMERICANISM

PAN-AMERICANISM makes for peace, and in "the piping days" thereof the Panama Canal, by facilitating intercommunication between the different sections of the hemisphere, is a potent factor of benefit and a great artery of that system. But there may come times when Pan-Americanism will be called upon to show its defensive strength under an attack from the outside. Great hopes have been built upon the canal's ability to double the striking power of our navy by making it possible quickly to shift fleets from one ocean to another. The advocates of a small navy say that this proves we do not need a great naval force in each of those oceans, because no longer is there necessary the long voyage made by the Oregon through the Magellan Straits in the Spanish War. All we would have to do, say they, is to transfer all our ships through the canal to whichever coast is attacked, because both coasts will never be attacked at once. All this is "important if true," to quote the motto of a great New York daily. Let us consider if the canal really can be relied upon to perform this important part in a defensive scheme.

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