It's time for the administration to step back and define its standards for intervention in the immediate term, a path for successful outcomes in struggling states like Libya, and a coherent strategy for global stability that includes serious economic development work.
This won't be easy in Washington, where some think tanks just think 'tanks,' and others invoke abstractions (ideology, culture, religion) as the "root causes" of global instability. But it's just possible that, more fundamental than any clash of civilizations, what we're seeing is a clash of generations driven by rebels with a very practical cause. Rebels who are saying (in so many words), "Find me a job!"
In unstable states like Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo and Sudan, people under 20 are now over of the total population. Think about that. Half a population with no hope of legitimate livelihood. As more young men compete for income in jobless economies, enormous social pressures build, exacerbated by intensifying urbanization – fertile ground for instability, insurgency, and terrorism to gain root.