To see the difficulty our rolling-news, think-piecing era has with complexity, especially political and historical complexity, look no further than the response to the growing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
This geopolitical quake, this long-brewing stand-off between the two greatest powers in the Middle East, speaks profoundly to the hollowing-out of the old power structures in that part of the world, and more importantly to an exhaustion of politics as we once knew it. And yet how is it being discussed? As a straight-up religious war. As a hidden history of inter-Islamist conflict magically surfacing in the second decade of the 21st century. It is a failure of historical depth to view the conflict in this narrow way.