REAR ADMIRAL ALFRED THAYER MAHAN once wrote, “One thing is sure. In the Caribbean Sea is the strategical key of two great oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific; our own maritime frontiers.” After the War with Spain it seemed for a time as if we would heed Mahan’s advice and make the Caribbean Sea our own private lake, a continuation of the Gulf of Mexico. A base was acquired in Cuba, Puerto Rico was under the American flag, and while the eastern approaches were still open, at least we held the northern passages to the Caribbean. However, something stopped us; the country’s internal feeling of the antagonism of the Pan- American countries to our Big Stick and Dollar Diplomacy, reliance upon English sea power, or just the natural reaction and withdrawal after the war. At any event we did not push our naval interests in this area even though the construction of the Panama Canal made Mahan’s words truer than ever.
The Caribbean—An American Lake
By Lieutenant Commander Ephraim R. McLean, Jr., U. S. Navy