Strategically speaking, the Caribbean Sea has been an American lake throughout the 20th century. With the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, the Caribbean formed a huge strategic pivot for the U.S. Navy and consequently became a keystone in American national security policy.
Yerxa, Donald A.
"The Special Service Squadron and the Caribbean Region, 1920-1940: A Case Study in Naval Diplomacy,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 39
, Article 7.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol39/iss4/7