Definition of Blowback
What does the term "blowback" mean in the geopolitical sense? What is meant by the term "blowback"?
The term "blowback" is best described through a fictional example:
The fictional country of Anywhere has tracked a wanted terrorist to a small African country. Anywhere's President signs off on a covert operation that will involve the bombing of the terrorist's suspected hiding place.
The covert operation results in the death of the terrorist, but it also results in the deaths of at least 100 innocent people in the surrounding area.
Years later, three major cities in Anywhere are rocked by suicide bombers, vowing revenge for the deaths of the 100 innocent people years earlier.
These revenge attacks would be classified as "blowback". Blowback occurs when an aggressor nation carries out a covert operation, and this covert operation eventually results in some sort of a retaliatory action against the aggressor nation's civilian population. The aggressor's nation's civilian population has no idea why they are being attack, due to the covert nature of the initial operation.
This is the most commonly accepted definition of "blowback".
Here is a former CIA agent's definition of the term "blowback":
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