Under the perverse U.N. definition of progress, Mr. Touré is delighted with the ITU undermining the open Internet. “History will show that this conference has achieved something extremely important,” he said. “It has succeeded in bringing unprecedented public attention to the different and important perspectives that govern global communications.” The treaty calls on countries to “elaborate” their views on the Internet at future ITU conferences, so these issues are here to stay.

Robert McDowell, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission, summarized the harm. “Consumers everywhere will ultimately pay the price for this power grab as engineers and entrepreneurs try to navigate this new era of an internationally politicized Internet,” he said. “Let’s never be slow to respond again.”

One lesson is that the best defense of the Internet is a good offense against an overreaching U.N. The majority of authoritarian governments in a one-country, one-vote system will keep chipping away at the open Internet. The best way to stop them is to abolish the ITU.