The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Arrogant, Unilateralist Obama Defies the UN…

…and thank goodness he did. The U.S., along with Canada, the UK, and a handful of other sensible countries, has walked away from the deranged plan to “occupy the internet” strongly supported by that wonderful thing, the “global community.”

The International Telecommunications Union (“committed to connecting the world”), another innocently named UN bureaucracy with great destructive potential, won’t be a vehicle to strengthen the repressive powers of UN members like China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba. The Financial Times:

The main concern voiced by those in the US camp was that regulation of the internet was discussed at all. Included in the final draft of the treaty were proposals to regulate spam, or junk email, which raised fears that it could be used as justification to block political communications. There were also questions over whether or not the treaty could be interpreted as giving countries the right to regulate internet companies such as Google and Facebook.

Of course, autocracies can still try to control the internet domestically, and they can even try to cooperate with other friendly autocracies. But it appears they won’t be able to leverage the UN to help them do it. Harebrained schemes like taxing international internet traffic, legitimizing government censorship, and putting UN bureaucrats in charge of running the internet have been warded off for now.

This shows that on the issues he cares about President Obama is as much of a cowboy as Ronald Reagan. Indeed, cowboy American unilateralism isn’t confined to the Right. Remember that Ted Kennedy voted against the Kyoto protocol.

Published on December 14, 2012 5:17 pm