China Buys Panama’s Largest Port

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Caption: Colón, Panama (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Consolidating power in the Panama Canal

For more than 100 years, the Panama Canal has controlled the bulk of goods transferred between the Pacific and the Atlantic. For much of that history, this monumental feat of engineering was under the control of the United States. But this is no longer the case.

In May, Panama’s largest port was purchased by a Chinese company called Landbridge Group.

Margarita Island Port, on the canal’s Atlantic side, offers the company intimate access to one of the most important goods distribution centers in the world.

While promising to upgrade the ailing Panama facilities and offer more trade with America’s distant east coast, there is substantial reason to hesitate at the purchase of such a critical trade hub.

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Changing of the Guard

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Caption: A cargo ship makes its way through the Miraflores locks as it crosses the Panama Canal. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 

The decline of U.S.-British control over the world’s sea gates

You’re sitting inside a fenced courtyard where all the gates are locked. At each gate stands an armed guard who will not allow you to leave. You are where?

The correct answer is prison.

Now imagine those burly guards laying down their weapons and handing over their keys to the inmates. That’s essentially what the United States and Britain have done. Prior to World War ii, they controlled every major sea gate in the world. These “gates,” as they are called in the Bible, proved indispensable to Allied success during World War ii. Since that time, however, the U.S. and Britain have, without a fight, surrendered their control as gatekeepers.

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