The Shelley Society was thrilled to host Dr Mendoza to speak not just at our first meeting but also at the first society meeting in the whole school during this new school year. Anybody who asked Dr Mendoza how many press interviews he had been asked to do over the previous few weeks would know how lucky we were to have him to speak and he couldn’t have chosen a better time to talk about “The Implications of a Changing Middle East”. Fortunately, the 120 people in Upper School seemed to realise this.

The sheer volume of facts, examples and arguments that Dr Mendoza packed into his talk was what made him so impressive as a speaker. Few people could have discussed radical Islam, the Gaza-Israel conflict, the lessons from Cold War History and the individual situations of countries such as Turkey, Qatar, Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq in just under an hour. Central to his thesis was the idea that we must overcome the post-Iraq mentality that refuses to intervene for fear of what might happen as a result. More important is what will happen when we refuse to make good on our commitments and cease to fight for the protection of innocence and the preservation of human life. Moreover, when we do intervene, we have to do so properly with long-term goals and investment in sight, unlike the recent intervention in Libya. It was a fantastic start to the year.