“The Gate of His Enemies…”
Panama: June 8, 1997—It’s a hot, languid, sultry tropical day. The sea is limpid, the air sticky. The white foundations of the statue of explorer Balboa contrast starkly with the bright tropical greenery and crimson of poinsettia in the park adjacent to this busy port city. High-rise concrete, steel and glass towers attest to the wealth of banks, financial institutions and trading companies in the city center. Panama City bustles and the locals are friendly. There really is not much of a hint that, within 21/2 years, the narrow canal zone crossing the “S”-shaped isthmus of Panama, controlled by the U.S. for the past 98 years, is about to be gifted to the local Panamanian government. There’s no apparent evidence at all that an even more dramatic event, an event destined to mature into a process that will reshape the economic, military and security strategy of all major nations, occurred but three months past. On March 1, 1997, the giant Chinese corporation, Hutchinson Whampoa, took control of the American-constructed ports of Balboa and Cristobal, at each end of the Panama Canal. As we gaze toward the procession of container vessels stringing out across the Gulf of Panama, it seems the light has not yet dawned on the United States and the rest of the world to reveal the catastrophic nature of this deal involving Panama and the Red Chinese.
Oklahoma: January 21, 1999—Eighteen months after our brief visit to Panama, the true strategic implications for the U.S. of the impending loss of the Panama Canal have yet to receive adequate exposure in either print or broadcasting media. Only an isolated voice here and there has sought to cry out and awaken the U.S. Administration to the security and economic catastrophe which is poised to shatter its complacency at mid-day, December 31, 1999. On this date, a once-great nation, which holds sovereign right over the Panama Zone “in perpetuity,” gives away its greatest strategic gateway to an arch-enemy!
Readers of this magazine should know that the nations of Great Britain and the United States are descended from Abraham and Isaac. It is revealed in scripture that “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will…” (Dan. 4:17). God promised to Abraham, way back in the 1800s b.c., that his descendants would “possess the gate of his enemies” (Gen. 22:17; 24:60). During the past 200 years, at the height of their power and prior to their recent decline, Britain and America between them possessed nearly every major sea and land gate in the world (see map, p. 4).
When Britain truly “ruled the waves,” her far-flung naval forces controlled Gibraltar, Malta, the Dardanelles, the English Channel, Suez, the Gulf of Aden, the Andarman and Nicobar Islands, Zanzibar, Capetown, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the Straits of Malacca, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Falkland Islands.
To America went control of the great Pacific sea lanes via her island outposts the Aleutians, Hawaiian Isles, Midway, Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines and the Panama Canal. Panama is, by far, of the greatest strategic importance to the U.S. as it is the gateway controlling access to and from the two greatest oceans—the Atlantic and the Pacific. This great sea gate has for almost 85 years controlled the bulk of the flow of goods by sea from the eastern to the western hemisphere and from the West to the East.
It was the Gold Rush of 1849 that spurred development of the Panama Canal after numerous attempts by the Portuguese, Spanish, Scots, Dutch, Belgian and French, spanning 400 years, had failed.
Although the French, using the engineering skill and vision of Ferdinand de Lessops, commenced the project in 1879, it was the U.S. which funded and completed development of the Panama Canal. The U.S. first laid 471/2 miles of rail track to build the Panama Railway, finishing construction in 1855. In fact, this was the first trans-continental railway ever built. When the French canal project failed under financial mismanagement, the Americans took over the task. The U.S. concluded the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty with Panama in 1903. This treaty granted the U.S. control “in perpetuity” of the ten-mile strip stretching across the Central American isthmus, designated the Canal Zone. A price of $10,000,000 was paid by America to Panama for this grant of sovereignty “in perpetuity.” Additionally, the U.S. indemnified the owners of the land resumed for the Canal Zone and thus obtained complete ownership of the land within the Canal Zone. American taxpayers funded the Canal project to its completion. The finished infrastructure involved fully developed port facilities at both the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the Canal, three major locks and all associated equipment to power, operate and maintain these facilities. As President Reagan stated, “We bought it, we paid for it, it’s ours, and we are going to keep it.”
He had been pre-empted, however, by President Jimmy Carter, who, in 1977, concluded dubious “treaties” with President Omar Torrijos of Panama, promising transfer of ownership of the Canal to Panama at noon on December 31, 1999. The fact that two-thirds of the American people were opposed to these “treaties” did not faze President Carter at the time. Subsequent research has thrown doubt on the legality of the treaties both within the context of the U.S. and Panama constitutions.
Panama’s Loss, China’s Gain
The U.S.-controlled Panama Canal Commission has contributed upward of $100 million per year to the Panamanian government. This equates with 1.3 percent of Panama’s gross national product. The Canal operation is a $600 million per annum business. Built on 19th century technology, it will require $1 billion expenditure on refurbishment over the next ten years. This cost must be paid solely out of revenue received from Canal tolls and associated Canal usage contracts.
With the end of the U.S. presence in Panama goes the $250-300 million per annum in monetary and economic benefits which the Panamanian economy has enjoyed through business generated by the U.S. forces and civil personnel domiciled there since 1903. Just as Britain did in Hong Kong, so will the U.S. gift to Panama all its defense bases constructed and maintained to this point on the isthmus of Panama. With the gift, however, comes the responsibility for the maintenance and effective use of these assets, which comprise
$3-4 billion worth of property. Millions of dollars in annual maintenance will then have to be contributed by Panama to the upkeep of these facilities. The Panamanians have not proven themselves adept at this. Having been given the U.S.-built and -maintained trans-isthmus railroad, Panamanians have neglected this asset to the point where its rails are covered with overgrown grass, its rolling stock lies rusted in neglect and its once attractive colonial-style rail stations are overrun with vagrants.
The temptation to yield to the Chinese buying off Panamanian loyalty by filling the cash vacuum left in the wake of U.S. withdrawal may prove too great a temptation for Panama to resist. The Chinese could readily squeeze further concessions out of the Panamanian government by such a process. The prospects for thriving corruption, to the gain of both China and Panama and the detriment of the U.S., are frightful. The drug cartels domiciled in Panama should make ready bedfellows for the Chinese, who have used the Panama Canal in the past to ship machine pistols destined for U.S.-based drug runners.
U.S. Forfeiture—Threat to the World
Upwards of 70 percent of total U.S. sea-borne cargo passes through the Panama Canal. Almost a quarter of the ships which enter New York harbor travel via the Canal. The bulk of American Midwest agricultural commodities destined for the massive Asian market moves via the Mississippi River onto ships destined for the Panama Canal route. The former chairman of the Panama Canal Commission, Robert McMillan, declares, “There is no way to get grain to Asia without the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge and the Canal. There are not enough grain cars in America to transport it west, and there aren’t enough granaries to store it in” (Newsday, Jan. 12, 1998).
Of even deeper concern to the West is the grave security risk posed by Panama having broken the dubious 1977 Panama Canal treaties and gone against its own constitution to conclude a sweetheart deal with a Chinese company whose CEO is closely allied to the Red Chinese leadership.
As previously reported in our World News Watch section (see January 1998 issue), through the underhanded deal struck by the money-grasping Panamanian government and the giant Hong Kong-based Hutchinson Whampoa conglomerate, control of the Panama Canal virtually goes to a declared enemy of the United States at the end of this year. The 50-year contract between Panama and Hutchinson Whampoa effectively places the ability to open and shut this great sea-gate into the hands of an enterprise based in, and subject to, the influence and direction of Communist China. Not only has Hutchinson Whampoa been granted full control over the ports at both entry and exit points of the Canal, the Panamanian government has granted long-term options to this Chinese enterprise for the takeover of a number of military installations scheduled for evacuation by the U.S.
Any apprentice of military strategy may see the startling possibilities which are opened up by such a deal. At 12 noon, December 31, an enterprise of China, the nation possessing the world’s largest army, which is aggressively expanding its navy and air force, having a prime strategy of naval control of the shipping lanes of the Far East, takes control of the major sea-transit gateway between East and West. In effect this gives Red China the power to deny the U.S. Navy right of access through the Panama Canal. Transit of military matériel, personnel and provisions via the Canal was crucial to the U.S. strategic efforts in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.
It is feasible that this secret deal between Panama and the Chinese will open up a base for Chinese warships right on the southern doorstep of the U.S. If the U.S. withdraws from Rodman Naval station, and should it then be handed to the Red Chinese under the “options” agreement, this will give China a deep-water port that would provide an immediate base of operations for its warships and submarines less than 1000 miles from U.S. territory! Should the Red Chinese choose to base their J-11 attack jets in Panama, ostensibly to promote the “security” of the Canal, this would place them within striking distance of the U.S. mainland. The potential threat to U.S. and world security posed by the apparent willing acquiescence of the current U.S. administration to the Panama-China deal is difficult for sensible minds to underestimate.
Voices of Alarm
The concept of the rule of law, fundamental to Western democracies, is foreign to the average oriental mind. What is of supreme importance to the oriental is face—saving face! In such a culture, truth has nowhere near the same value as it has in traditional Western culture. As the Chinese dissident Harry Wu has stated, “The Chinese leaders are liars. They lie to their own people.” If a nation’s leaders lie to their own people, how much more so will they lie to a foreign power? Yet recently the current U.S. administration flung one of its staunchest oriental allies to the wind, preferring that the President renounce the old alliance with Taiwan, reading from a prepared script concocted by the hand of the Red Chinese leaders! To make genuine mistakes in dealing with foreign policy through misunderstanding, or even incompetence, is one thing. To make public statements, over a period of time, in a manner which encourages the known strategy of an enemy, is another.
Massive campaign contributions from questionable Chinese sources, repudiation of a longstanding alliance with Taiwan, compliance with the conditions of handover of the Panama Canal to China—what are we to make of all this?
A few, a very few thinkers in the U.S. and Panama, are voicing their alarm at the ease with which the Chinese have gained their foothold on the doorstep of America.
Panamanian presidential candidate William Bright Marine, writing to the Justice Department on May 4, stated, “I have yet to speak to one single American who is not outraged at the fact that the Clinton administration has allowed Communist China to obtain control of U.S. ports, U.S. bases, and functions of the Panama Canal. They, today, effectively control access to the Panama Canal…. This agreement could not have happened, without the consent of the Clinton administration” (WorldNet Daily, May 25, 1998).
Seventeen days later, Marine penned the following to U.S. Senator Trent Lott: “Score another victory for the Communist Chinese in Panama. Yesterday Cable and Wireless won a bid to purchase 49 percent of the national phone system of Panama (INTEL)…. Hutchinson Whampoa is a major shareholder of Cable and Wireless. Hutchinson is the company that was awarded what Panama calls a port agreement, but what is in fact a 50-year treaty that gives U.S.-built ports, U.S. bases, and functions of the Panama Canal to Communist China…. Communist China’s involvement with INTEL has other security implications. Communist China will now have the ability to monitor without interference of any kind communications from the U.S. bases in Panama.”
It is reported that last summer, in a closed session with the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN (Ret.), former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of grave security risks compounded by the Chinese takeover of the Panama Canal. Apparently the Admiral declared, “I’m an old sailor now, but I know trouble when I see it…trouble that could evolve quickly into a conflict in our own hemisphere with world-wide implications…. I speak of the transfer of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian government under the circumstances which now exist. There’s far more going on there than meets the eye.” With a view to the strategic importance of the Canal, Admiral Moorer stated, “The Canal is the only viable way to transport oil to the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico from the West” (WorldNet Daily, Oct. 19, 1998).
One of the most strident voices speaking out on the Panama Canal issue over the past 15 years is G. Russell Evans, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.). In the preface to his recently published book, Death Knell of the Panama Canal, Captain Evans states, in relation to the Panama/Hutchinson Whampoa deal, “If this scandalous swindle is consummated, Americans will have surrendered the greatest single achievement of our 221-year history, the most meaningful contribution ever made by one nation for the benefit of all nations, and most important, we may have ‘written the final chapter in the history of America’s greatness as a world power,’…and it will all have been done by deliberate violations of the Constitution of the United States” (pp. xxi-xxii).
In The Coming Conflict With China, authors Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro point out that China’s strength and influence in the vast Pacific is already far greater than those of any other country with the specific exception of the United States. They note that China is well on its way to becoming “a formidable military power.” Why is it, then, in the face of this rise to Pacific dominance by the Red Chinese, that an appeasing U.S. Administration is so willing to seemingly roll over and play dead-in-the-water? As Admiral Moorer says, “There’s more to this than meets the eye.”
Over 20 years ago, the eminent Panama Canal authority, Dr. Donald M. Dozer, declared, “Upon the defense of the Canal Zone by the United States depends the fate of the Canal. Upon the fate of the Canal depend the safety of world sea-lanes and the fate of the entire Caribbean-Gulf area. Upon these factors depend the survival of the United States as a free and independent nation and the safety and welfare of the American continents.” To that we may add, upon the survival of the U.S. as a free and independent nation depends the fate of the peacetime world!
Western intelligence has long been aware that China’s immediate goal is to dominate Asia and the region of the Pacific. This is in direct opposition to America’s long-held strategic policy of preventing any Asian power from dominating the region. Flying in the face of declared Western defense goals, China has doggedly pursued its three-point plan to consolidate its interests and develop its oriental “Empire.” The plan has always been to 1) take over Hong Kong, 2) assume control of neighboring Macau and 3) swallow up Taiwan.
Hong Kong, once the oriental jewel in the crown of the mighty British Empire, now bedecks the imperial crown of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Macau is to be handed over to China by the Portuguese at the end of the current year. China will then argue from a position of strength that its takeover of Taiwan, already sucked into the economic maw of the PRC, be consummated speedily by peaceful or other means. Mainland China will then dominate the trade routes of the South China Sea and threaten dominance of the Pacific.
Only two possible avenues of resistance could restrict China’s dominance of the Asian-Pacific region—the prospect of an increased naval presence from Japan, or a sea-change in the present thinking of the currently appeasing U.S. Administration. The first prospect is presently limited due to ongoing restrictions on Japanese defense build-up coupled with her ailing economy. There exists no sign of the second prospect taking place. Thus, the progressive achievement of China’s three-step policy for its dominance in Asia and the Pacific, added to the imminent prospect of its takeover of the Panama Canal, presents the world with an unprecedented strategic threat from the East of fearful consequence to the West.
What we are witnessing with the shocking loss of former British-controlled Hong Kong to the PRC in 1997 and the handover of Panama from American sovereignty (declared as “in perpetuity” by treaty) to Chinese control are two of the most dramatic fulfillments of biblical prophecy in modern times.
Almighty God declares of Britain, “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye. The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices” (Hos. 4:17-19).
The British ruling, governmental, and church establishment has been riven and rocked with scandal over the past decade. The Eternal God clearly cites the reason for Britain’s decline and fall as a world power—“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord” (Hos. 5:3-4).
Of all the great sea gates given it by its Creator God, Britain now barely holds on to Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and a few other scattered isles. God gave abundant blessings to Britain due to the obedience of their patriarch Abraham. God has taken away those blessings as a penalty for the rebellion of Abraham’s descendants.
America, would-be policeman to the world, operates presently under an administration caught in the midst of deep scandal. Suspicion as to the timing of the sudden December attack on Iraq holds this administration up to the most cynical of views. This nation, which has spawned and exported a massive pornography industry around the world, the foremost of the modern nations descended from Abraham, stands roundly condemned by its God for its rank rebellion against Him. Full-well the statement of London-based columnist “Taki” is born out—the land of the free and the home of the brave has become “the land of the freebee and the home of the depraved!”
Speaking of the offspring of Israel in their final generations, God declared, “And I will break the pride of your power…. And your strength shall be spent in vain” (Lev. 26:19-20).
The pride of the nations of Britain and America was centered around the freedom of passage of their trade and their naval vessels through the great sea gates of the world. God has broken that power! He is now dealing His heaviest blow against the pride of America, biblical Manasseh, by plucking the Western allies’ greatest remaining sea gate out of U.S. control and handing it to a declared enemy!
The whole world will suffer because of Israel’s sin—witness the words of Admiral Moorer in his 1978 Senate Armed Services Committee testimony: “The defense and use of the Panama Canal is wrapped inextricably with the overall global strategy of the United States and the security of the free world.” Twenty years later, Admiral Moorer declared to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “We are talking about the control of a strategic part of the world in our hemisphere, shortly to be controlled by the largest country on earth, Communist China…. We have dropped the ball in the Canal Zone, and the game is almost over.”
The storm is gathering for the nations of Israel. The loss of Panama is a mighty big nail being driven into the coffin that will carry the cadaver of Uncle Sam’s prideful vanity, unless this great nation repents of its gross rebellion against the God to whose allegiance its founding fathers bound it.
The Panama Canal is a birthright blessing, gifted by God to the United States of America, purchased by its taxpayers’ money and granted under treaty to her “in perpetuity.” It is a vital and necessary territorial possession which has not only ensured America’s security but has guaranteed the free trade of world goods between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for the past 84 years. If America’s leaders refuse to be warned of the foolishness of their actions in yielding up this prime sea gate, they simply cast back into the face of Almighty God one of the greatest components of the national birthright blessings ever entrusted them.
As God’s word declares, “Pride goeth before destruction…” (Prov. 16:18). It’s time for America to wake up, for as Admiral Moorer has declared, “The game is almost over”!