Assembling friendly states and developing a set of global norms would give the US more leverage over China, Russia, Iran, and other cyberoffenders that regularly hijack international Internet governance meetings. For example, at the December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications, the US and other like-minded nations struggled to defeat the myriad troubling proposals offered by Russia that empowered states to clamp down on Internet freedoms. Eventually, 55 countries, led by the US, refused to sign the agreement.
This tense dynamic is not sustainable. Instead of being on defense, the US must be at the forefront of setting the international agenda. The US could focus positively on common ground, and put those who oppose Internet freedom on defense.