I've long 'held my fire' regarding the oft-published but always predictable opinions of Michael Hale. But with my history a protest organizer against the Vietnam War and Kent State killings, I tend to take exception to people who give lip service to "progressive" values but reveal themselves as neo-conservatives. The term includes those presenting as former or present liberals practicing identity politics who advocate the assertive promotion of 'democracy' and their notions of U.S. national interest worldwide, including via military force.
In other words, someone solidly ensconced in the establishment to the extent of wanting a projection of American power where it may or may not have any business. Within his as usual put-down litany of the present administration in a Jan. 5 letter, the only person Hale names as "decent" is James Mattis, aka "Mad Dog," the one some thorough progressives have nominated as "more appropriate for a corporate kennel." The latter could likely be the opinion of notable Democrats of a previous era from Eugene McCarthy back to JFK and RFK, who resisted hawkish generals and negotiated us out of the looming nuclear Armageddon of the Cuban missile crisis. The Kennedys went with their knowledge and "gut," which Hale evidently counts on readers not realizing when he derides Trump for doing the same. Though Hale likes to overlook it, we like not having North Korea's Kim no longer rattling his nuclear saber but instead getting chummy with his southern counterparts about new rail connections.
President Barack Obama didn't tame Kim. Hillary Clinton hardly could have after what U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (who recently advised Trump to go with his instincts) aptly described as "her very own war" against another strongman, which she bailed on after her "we came, we saw, he (Muammar Gadaffi) died" remarks proved a prelude to Libya's descent into chaos and mayhem.
The Bernie Sanders bumper sticker still on our car bespeaks the fact that were we given an alternative to Clinton, we'd have returned to the Democratic fold. But the DNC and its anti-Democratic "super-delegate" system (and outright chicanery) took care of that, driving us into Trump's arms. As 2020 prospects for us independents, there's still Sanders and now Elizabeth Warren, who in a recent foreign policy statement essentially agreed with Trump's declarations about Syria and Afghanistan.
My prediction is that Hale will soon be calling for Trump's impeachment. I'm with people like Alan Dershowitz who soundly reject that. Trump displays inordinate jingoism about southern border crossers who gave us the labor we needed, which locals wouldn't always provide, after Hurricane Katrina. But flawed people can do good things. Trump has done good, sometimes by virtue of the very style Hale abhors — a style that has removed much politically correct smog, behind which many wolves in sheep's clothing have hidden.
retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker