U.S. control of the Internet's basic functions has kept the Web free for Americans and the entire world. And it's up to us to keep it that way.
As Ronald Reagan said during the great Panama Canal controversy in the mid-1970s: "We bought it. We built it. We paid for it. We intend to keep it."
Within two years after the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty to give away our Canal, angry voters defeated two-dozen Senators who voted for that treaty and induced eight more to retire. Reagan's triumphant 1980 victory over both the Democrats and the Republican establishment included the support of a new Republican Senate.
Where is the Republican leader who is smart enough to follow Reagan's example and thereby pave a route to the White House? Where is a leader who will protect and defend America's control of the Web, which is such a prime example of America's technological exceptionalism?
President Barack Obama tried to hide the news of his abandonment of our control of the Internet by having an assistant secretary in the Department of Commerce issue a low-key press release in those late Friday afternoon hours when embarrassing news is often buried. Was this an April Fools' joke?
The U.S. created the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and has kept control over the technical procedures that allow computers around the world to connect to Web addresses. ICANN has managed the Internet's domain name system since 1998, ensuring that the Internet runs efficiently without political pressure from any country.
Now the Obama Commerce Department wants to give ICANN away and even invite Communist China and Russia to help us police the Internet. That's like telling the fox to guard the chicken coop, because those countries don't believe in free speech and don't even allow their own people to have free access to the Internet.
This could be the most-dangerous use yet of Obama's now-famous pen. It's also a great opportunity for some Republican to stand up for America like Reagan did and reap the political reward.
There has to be political capital lurking in a pro-America policy position that is already espoused by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Heritage Foundation and Bill Clinton, who warns that other countries "have been trying to take this authority from the U.S. for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empowering their people."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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