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Postmaster: Send address change to News India Times, 1655 Oak Tree Toad, Suite 155 Edison, NJ 08820-2843 Annual Subscription: United States: $28 Disclaimer: Parikh Worldwide Media assumes no liability for claims/ assumptions made in advertisements and advertorials. Opinion News India Times March 24, 2023 3 Socialism Is In Retreat In The Democratic Party Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed on this page are those of the authors and Parikh Worldwide Media does not officially endorse, and is not responsible or liable for them. Report Foresees ‘Current Calm’ Continuing In India-Pakistan Relations; China ‘Potential To Escalate’ A United States intelligence report dials down on the level of threat between India and Pakistan fore- seeing “the current calm” in their relations continuing, even though the risk of a conflict sparked by terrorism remains. The Annual Threat Assessment Report by the US Intelligence Community released this week inWashington said, “New Delhi and Islamabad probably are inclined to reinforce the current calm in their relationship following both sides’ renewal of a cease-fire along the Line of Control in early 2021.” It was a departure from last year’s report that only carried a warning, which was added almost verbatim in this year’s report as a caveat, “Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India militant groups, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Paki- stani provocations.” “Each side’s perception of heightened tensions raises the risk of conflict, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant at- tack in India being potential flashpoints,” it said, adding, “Crises between India and Pakistan are of particular concern because of the risk of an escalatory cycle between two nuclear-armed states.” Turning to India’s eastern flank, the report released issued by the Office of the Director of Nation Intelligence, which co- ordinates the various agencies, reiterated the risk that a heightened confrontation between India and China might directly threatenWashington and its citizens and lead to calls for intervention by it. “The expanded military postures by both India and China along the disputed border elevate the risk of armed confron- tation between two nuclear powers that might involve direct threats to US persons and interests, and calls for US interven- tion,” it said. “Previous standoffs have demonstrated that persistent low-level friction on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has the po- tential to escalate swiftly,” it added. “In the wake of the countries’ lethal clash in 2020, the most serious in de- cades,” the report said that “relations will remain strained” despite their bilateral border talks and “resolved border points.” This assessment is virtually the same as that in last year’s report except for the mention of the talks and the resolution of the border points. The report again did not give any details about the possible “calls for US intervention” and it remained unclear where the calls could emanate from and the nature of the intervention. US and India do not have any military pact – something New Delhi has categori- cally said it will not seek – and the Quad arrangement that includes Japan and Australia has made clear that it had no de- fence angle despite Tokyo’s and Canberra’s pacts withWashington. The last time that the US stepped into a conflict involving India was during the 1999 Kargil conflict when President Bill Clinton intervened diplomatically to defuse the situation by persuading Islam- abad to withdraw its troops. The US does not have similar clout with China. The report makes China the major threat to US interests worldwide, calling it a “near-peer.” “China has the capability to directly attempt to alter the rules-based global order in every realm and across multiple regions, as a near-peer competitor that is increasingly pushing to change global norms and potentially threatening its - Continued On Page 4 R emember Medicare-for-all? Just a few years ago, it was the Demo- crats’ hottest idea. Now it has nearly fallen out of public discus- sion. Socialism, which was noisily advancing in the Democratic Party, is silently beating a retreat. A new dawn for socialism had ap- peared to begin with Sen. Bernie Sand- ers’s (I-Vt.) strong insurgent campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Its centerpiece proposal was to replace all private health insurance with a government-run program By 2018, 124 House Democrats, more than three-fifths of all of them, were co-sponsoring the Medicare-for-all bill. The 2018 elections saw the rise of a slew of self-proclaimed socialists. The most mediagenic of them, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, beat a longtime incum- bent Democrat. A moderate Democrat from yesteryear criticized her as she took office. “New party, who dis?” was her response. By the time Democrats began their presidential debates in 2019, Medicare-for-all was the leading subject, with Sen. ElizabethWarren (D-Mass.) and then-Sen. Kamala D. Harris(D-Calif.) joining Sanders in advancing variants of it. Writers on the left celebrated what they called “a progressive policy arms race” led byWarren and Sanders. But then Joe Biden, who opposed the proposal, won the nomination. His spoonful of sugar for the advocates was a promise to take several large steps toward Medicare-for-all. He said he would create a new “public option” to let working-age Americans above the poverty level get insurance coverage from the federal gov- ernment. He also promised to lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60 and to have it cover dental and vision care. Once in office, though, Biden has walked away from these initiatives. His new budget includes no public option and doesn’t let 60-year-olds into Medicare, perhaps because these policies would have been costly and disrupted many peo- ple’s current health-care arrangements. TheWhite House released accompanying verbiage about working with Congress to strengthen dental and vision benefits, but the budget reserves no money for it. The dashing of progressive hopes on health care should put in perspective the much-discussed shift of the Democratic Party, and the country as a whole, to the left. Today’s Democrats are indeed more left-wing than their forebears in many ways. Biden’s budget foresees record levels of federal spending and debt. He has signaled more hostility to bipartisan entitlement reform than the two previous Democratic presidents did. And Repub- licans are eager to highlight the party’s socialist turn, if only to denounce it. But it turns out the party’s left wing has spent much of the past few years fooling itself about its ascendancy. Sanders did well in the 2016 primary because he was running against Hillary Clinton. He fizzled in 2020, when she wasn’t in the race as a foil. Ocasio-Cortez and her closest allies in the House are in liberal districts where, as then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) remarked a few years ago, “a glass of water” with a D next to its name could win an election. They represent the voters Democrats already have, not the ones they need to win. Which helps explain why Medicare-for- all has languished. When Democrats had a House majority, from 2019 through the start of this year, it was because they pre- vailed in moderate districts. The number of co-sponsors for the legislation actually dropped a little. A major reason moderates shunned the bill: It requires raising taxes on the middle class, as Sanders readily admits. (He says the middle class will save more on medi- cal bills than they pay in taxes.) Biden, like the other two Democrats who have been president in the past 40 years, has ruled that out. And that constraint on Democratic ambitions is getting tighter. In 1993, Presi- dent Bill Clinton signed a bill raising taxes on couples making more than $140,000: about $300,000 in today’s money. Biden has an even more expansive definition of the middle class: He says only couples making more than $450,000 should pay higher tax rates. If they’re willing to raise taxes only on a small slice of the population, Demo- crats might not be able to keep financing the government we have. They certainly cannot finance a European-style social democracy. Fans of Medicare-for-all can, however, take comfort that they will have one champion in the 2024 presidential race: MarianneWilliamson. Ramesh Ponnuru, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, is the editor of National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. -Special to TheWashington Post By Ramesh Ponnuru