The gruesome death of John Ridsdel at the hands of the Islamist jihadi group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, and the limp response of Canada's political elites, brings to mind a speech by an American president delivered 55 years ago Wednesday.
President John F. Kennedy addressed a gathering of American editors and publishers in New York City, on April 27, 1961 warning them of an undeclared war:
"Today no war has been declared -- and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion ... For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence -- on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day."
Kennedy knew how to fight a 'monolithic and ruthless' enemy that 'relies primarily on covert means.'
Kennedy was referring to the ideological war of communist insurrection, unleashed by the USSR and China in the 1950s that threatened the stability of much of the world.
Millions would die in these wars that ranged from Indonesia to Angola and Ethiopia to Nepal, before the collapse of communism exposed the horrors committed in the name of ideological purity and the supposed fight for equality and justice.
If Kennedy were still alive, he could have delivered the same lecture today with very little to change, about a new undeclared war.
Our prime minister is as handsome as JFK was, but it seems Trudeau lacks the input of people Kennedy had around him: the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith, Robert S. McNamara, Dean Rusk and Henry Cabot Lodge.
It was embarrassing to watch Justin Trudeau read a prepared statement and hesitatingly pronounce the words "John Ridsdel" as he expressed his "outrage," without naming the Abu Sayyaf Islamic terrorists who beheaded Ridsdel.
Trudeau went on to say, "This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage," as if some isolated guerrilla group had acted, not a worldwide network of terror that killed two other Canadians in Canada just two years ago.
No prime minister, this was not "an act of cold-blooded murder." An act of "cold-blooded murder" is what happened to eight members of the same family in rural Pike County, Ohio. The killing of Ridsdel was an act of war by an Islamic jihadi group.
Instead of promising swift retribution, Trudeau said, "Canada is committed to working with the government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this heinous act and to bring them to justice."
No, prime minister. It's time for you to stop doing yoga handstands and lecturing on quantum physics to impress millennials. We all know how pretty you are. It's now time to show us if you are capable of taking on the Islamists.
As my colleague, Joe Warmington, wrote in Tuesday's Sun, Abu Sayyaf has committed "an act of war," and Canada "is at war with ISIS whether Trudeau admits it or not." And, as Warmington added, "Ridsdel is a casualty of that war."
Prime Minister, please pull out a copy of JFK's speech of April 27, 1961, and read it. It may not be quantum physics, but it will help you understand global geo-politics and the war where "no war has been declared."
Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.