Time Essay: Mythologizing the Panama Canal

Getting the first Panama Canal treaty through the Senate last month was roughly the equivalent of putting a big tanker through the waterway: there was no room to spare. The second treaty, providing for the gradual transfer of authority to Panama by the year 2000, is expected to have an equally narrow passage when it comes up for a vote on April 18. Opponents of the treaty have intensified their pressure on wavering Senators, and a defeat of the second treaty would force renegotiation of the entire agreement, with potentially explosive consequences. Seldom, in fact, has a project that is so...

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