The challenger countries will once again try, as they did last December in Dubai, to wrest control from the coalition of stakeholders that has been governing the Internet under a contract with the U.S. government. If they succeed it will be the end of the world as we know it. There will be no Internet. There will be many nets: ChinaNet, Euronet, maybe Deutsche Net and France net and Brazil Net and Russia Net. It will resemble the world before the Internet with many private networks and a constant challenge of interconnection.
Europe is surrounded by a ring of instability. With conflicts festering from Ukraine to Iraq to Libya, the perennially elusive question is what Europe stands for. How do its values, interests, and ambitions fit into an increasingly unruly world? The nomination of the new European foreign policy chief last weekend looks like yet another missed opportunity to provide an answer.
An old saying in Rome has it that the favorite candidate always enters the conclave as the next pope but exits as a mere cardinal. Matteo Renzi, Italy's maverick prime minister, is Europe's man of the hour; but the six-month rotating EU presidency which Italy kicked off earlier this month may leave him severely diminished, unless he fulfills the promise of his leadership with tangible results.