There are only three days left until President Barack Obama gives up the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to the international community, ending online freedom of expression and enterprise as we know it.
It is just the latest in a series of steps that Obama has taken to undermine American power, regardless of the consequences. And just like the failed Russian “reset,” the Libya war, the Iraq pullout and the Iran deal, it is doomed to failure, and irreversible.
At the New York Times, Danielle Kehl of New America’s Open Technology Institute attempts to make the best case for the handover. She argues that the U.S. always intended to give up control of ICANN, that ICANN works well enough to be given up, and that the new multi-stakeholder model is preferable to one in which governments exert direct control of ICANN.
All of these arguments fall apart rather easily. The U.S. may have intended to give up ICANN when it was created, but it has become a strategic asset, and the U.S. will not break any legal or binding commitment by holding onto it. ICANN does not work well enough to be trusted. Earlier this month, the Free Beacon cited congressional testimony in reporting that ICANN has “has provided official accreditation to people who have transferred technology to Iran, worked with North Korea, and ordered “murders-for-hire.” Clearly more needs to be done to strengthen accountability and transparency before any change.
As for whether the multi-stakeholder model is preferable to the government-dominated model the rest of the world prefers, that is the same fallacious argument the administration used in pushing the Iran deal — i.e. allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons in the future is better than no deal at all. The best alternative of all is the status quo.
Congress has only three days to stop Obama’s surrender of ICANN. If ever there were a cause worth shutting down the government to achieve, this is it.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.