The New World
The Boston Marathon bombing of April 15, 2013, provides much mate-
rial and thought for this chapter. The actions of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan
Tsarnaev represent a highly challenging conuence of domestic and inter-
national developments that represent the enormous complexity of contem-
porary geopolitics. Their decision to kill participants and spectators, young
and old alike, represents a terrorist attack, however, the larger issues are
of the utmost importance in understanding security, strategy, and conict.
The impact of their actions is directly related to many of the themes
discussed in this book. Understanding geopolitics, particularly in the
context of the “global village” that accurately denes national and inter-
national relations, increasingly requires stepping outside traditionally
understood and accepted borders and boundaries.
The terms “borders” and “boundaries” are arguably similar; never-
theless, a nuanced reading suggests they are distinguishable and distinct.
Borders, in the context of geopolitics, refers to the demarcation line between
nation-state A and nation-state B; boundaries refers to the tangible and
intangible in articulating limits and opportunities alike. In the nation-state
paradigm, borders are defensible by posting soldiers, physical barriers,
and demanding that an individual seeking to cross a border legally pres-
ent appropriate and valid documentation. In accordance with principles of
sovereignty, the nation-state has the right to deny entry to an individual
seeking to cross its borders regardless of the intent to enter the country.
MODERN GEOPOLITICS AND SECURITY
Primarily because of their inherent intangibleness, boundaries are sig-
nicantly different. For example, although an individual may be denied
physical access (cannot cross the border) his reach, and impact, into the
country he wishes to enter may well transcend mere physical limitations.
The Internet has dramatically affected the scope and power of the “reach.”
Rearticulated: the Internet has signicantly minimized the importance of
physical borders and expanded the importance of intangible boundaries.
To that end, acts of terrorism can be committed without crossing a border,
but solely by expanding the boundaries. What, after all, is at the essence
of cyberterrorism if not borderless attacks?
The complexity of the Boston attack requires, then, focusing on bor-
ders and boundaries alike, whether equally or not is a matter of interpre-
tation and prioritization. The attack occurred in Boston, but it is likely
that the background and motivation are international with the Internet
providing a mechanism for the articulation of beliefs and viewpoints that
were, evidentially, essential to the attack. That is, although the bombings
and subsequent events were seemingly local in nature, the reality is that
the attack of April 15, 2013, reects both international and domestic terror-
ism. In that vein, it reects the crossing of borders and boundaries alike.
After all, the Tsarnaev family moved to the United States hoping to cre-
ate a better life, similar to untold immigrants before them. And younger
brother Dzhokhar ofcially became a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2011.
To that end, then, the Boston Marathon bombers encompass a signi-
cant number of “stories within the story” related to geopolitics, reaching
far beyond the bombing itself. Whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev was radical-
ized in a mosque or self-radicalized, religious extremism as a motivating
factor is essential to understanding the actions of the Tsarnaev brothers.
Similarly, the issue of assimilation and acculturation is relevant to under-
standing the relationship between immigrants and the society they have
chosen for their new home.
This question is of particular importance given the politically charged
debate both in the United States and Europe regarding immigration. In
this vein, the geopolitics discussion must include analysis of integration,
immigration, and extremism. In many ways, the three are directly related
to security concerns and considerations, both domestically and interna-
tionally. Some have suggested that the Boston bombers represent domestic
terrorism only, however, a more cautious analysis suggests a complicated
conuence of domestic and international security considerations. It is in
that spirit that the events of April 15, 2013, and the data uncovered since,