Headlines proclaiming victories often apply only to the day they are published. When it comes to politics there are no “final victories” and I fear that will be the case with our so-called win at the recent meeting in Tunis of the World Summit on the Information Society. Headlines proclaimed “U.S. to Retain Oversight of Web” but one victorious battle for America does not mean that the war has been won. What is at stake is our continued control of our wealth and technology.
Many Americans were concerned that United States control of the Internet is endangered and that that meeting could establish the groundwork to eliminate our control. China, Brazil, Cuba and Iran would like nothing better than to displace the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which exercises minimal oversight over the domain-name system. The European Union also has expressed misgivings about the U.S. “dominance” over the Internet. The State Department’s David Gross, leader of our delegation to Tunisia, chose to stand up for the best interest of our country and the world rather than submit to those who want to rein in our country’s Internet policies.
Gross announced after the meeting, “No new organizations were created.” Nor was any new “oversight mechanism” created or any significant shift in policy established. A forthcoming international forum on the Internet to be held in Greece in 2006 is expected to examine topics related to Internet governance but to have no power to determine substantive policy changes. Gross felt confident to proclaim that we won “a clean sweep” in Tunisia.
Our Ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton, has a better fix on the situation, issuing a warning at a luncheon with Washington Times editors and reporters that “Other governments are sophisticated enough to argue that they don’t want greater control over the Internet, they want greater benefits from it.” That language is camouflage for redistributing economic resources. We must not forget that the Internet is a powerful driver of commerce and communications. Bolton warned, “Whatever happens in Tunis, I don’t think that’s the end of the issue.”
Anyone who thinks Ambassador Bolton is mistaken would profit from reading “The Return of the United Nation’s New World Information and Communications Order,” a recent monograph by Cliff Kincaid, President of America’s Survival, an organization dedicated to protecting American sovereignty from encroachment by the United Nations. He is an indefatigable researcher and his determination to dig up facts aptly is demonstrated in that monograph.