From British Prime Minister David Cameron's speech announcing his proposal for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU:

What Churchill described as the twin marauders of war and tyranny have been almost entirely banished from our continent. Today, hundreds of millions dwell in freedom, from the Baltic to the Adriatic, from the Western Approaches to the Aegean.

And while we must never take this for granted, the first purpose of the European Union – to secure peace – has been achieved and we should pay tribute to all those in the EU, alongside NATO, who made that happen. But today the main, over-riding purpose of the European Union is different: not to win peace, but to secure prosperity.

Cameron says Europe's peace must never be taken for granted, yet in the next breath he says European peace 'has been achieved', as if this peace is a permanent, irreversible condition. But that is to put more weight on a mere six decades of European history than on the take-your-pick-about-how-many-centuries of regular warfare before that.