Originally Posted by jstevens
"The US invested in Panama, made profits, then when profits dropped divested itself. Capitalism at work."
I'm not sure capitalism ever had anything to do with the canal operation. To the best of my knowledge the canal was never managed to produce a profit for the US Gov't, but as a strategic military resource.
Respectfully beg to differ.
Consider shipments of goods east/west across the USA and from/to Asia
from US east coast
. Expensive and slow. Canal was better. Commercial
usage and capitalism. I agree that canal operations were not run on a maximizing profits basis, but US corporations could sell goods at a lower price
due to lower (than could have been) canal costs. What was that expression... The business of the USA is business... Then along came Eisenhower and voila - US Interstate highway system made in-country transport cheaper than through the canal. (Yes - I'm collapsing history
there. Took years to build the interstate system.)
I rcv'd this PM from another Cf user after my long post up there: "Thanks for injecting a little reality. USMC Gen. (ret.) Smedley Butler explained Central American politics in his book \"War is a racket\" in 1932. He fought the corporate wars for coca cola and dole fruit."
The canal as military resource... Well, yes, for a while. I've read that the US military pretty much discounted the canal by the early 1940s. The thought being that 100 men
could attack and damage just one lock (set?) and shut down the canal for months. During WW II, for Pacific ops most men
and goods traveled west across the US by rail. After that, one of the biggest reasons for the US maintaining a two-ocean navy
through the years was the acknowledgement that the Soviets could (probably) take out the canal from the air - no boots needed on the ground.
You were there. Was it a viable fear about 100-odd men being able to take out a set of locks? (Guess I'm thinking trained combat/demo troops, not insurgents, and obviously in a well-coordinated sneak attack).
Please disabuse me if my historical understanding is incorrect because hey - I'm certainly not a history