CNN reports that Dzhokar Tsarnaev claims U.S. military intervention in the Middle East are to blame for Boston Bombings.
Dzhokhar was reportedly born in Kyrgyzstan and both he and his brother lived, for a time, in Kyrgyzstan and Kzahkistan. Tamerlan was born in Chechnya, which is across the Caspian Sea from Kazakhstan.
So what does this have to do with the Middle East?
Today, Chechens and others from Central Asia fight in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other primarily-Islamic nations as they have become incorporated in the larger radical Islamic movement.
Peter Baker, a White House correspondent who covered the Second Chechen War, said on MSNBC that since the 1700s, Chechnya has been using terrorism to try to break away from Russian control. But it wasn’t until Osama bin laden and Al Qaeda gained power that radical Islam began to take over what was originally an independence movement.
Disapproval of the U.S. from the Caucus region (where the Tsarnaev borthers are from) is evident in the polls; Gallup has been collecting polling data from Central Asia for years, and they have found that Kazakhstan’s approval rating of U.S. leadership dropped 11 points from 2011 to 2012 and now has just a 28 percent approval rating of U.S. leadership. Kyrgyzstan polls similarly low at 34 percent approval in 2012.
So why the change in approval and why is approval so low in this area of the world?
Although Gallup data from September 11, 2001 is not available, it is intuitive to think that increased U.S. involvement in the Middle East since 9/11 has led to decreased approval of U.S. leadership since increased U.S. involvement has brought war and death.
We see this theory hold true as Pakistan, a nation especially affected by drone strikes as 175 children and 535 civilians have been killed by drones, disapproves of U.S. leadership more than any other country. In fact, approval of U.S. leadership has decreased to an all-time low of 4 percent, while disapproval has reached 92 percent.
With strong religious and cultural connections between the Middle East and Central Asia, it is logical to conclude that when the U.S. kills Pakistanis, Afghans or others, the people of Central Asia will further disapprove of U.S. leadership.
This is dangerous because, at some point, people in Central Asia (along with those in the Middle East) will cease to remain apathetic in regards to U.S. foreign policy. With the U.S. increasing drone use in the countries like Pakistan, and with the death that comes with these strikes, there is certainly justification for terrorist attacks on the U.S.
As Osama bin Laden warned in his most-recent Fatwa (albeit from 1998), terrorist attacks will be performed on all Americans because of our foreign policy in the Middle East. Possibly, the message of freeing this region from American influence resonated with the Tsarnaev brothers, and maybe this is why they carried out their attacks.
Hopefully, the possibility that this attack is a sign of things to come is wrong, and this was just a senseless act. However, one cannot deny the possibility that millennials worldwide are growing up with U.S. drones flying over their heads, and that these millennials are living in fear that will cause them to act out against the U.S. in the future.
If it is U.S. foreign policy that caused this act, and that may cause such acts in the future, we may be propagating a generation of radical political (or other) activists who want the U.S. out of their lives, and will do whatever it takes to make this happen.