BRITAIN has once again marked the dead of two world wars and a number of other conflicts of various sorts by observing Remembrance Day on Sunday and Armistice Day yesterday.

It is a matter of some interest that, as these conflicts recede into history, and the number of people who served in, or even remember, the two major wars of the 20th century dwindles, the observances seem to have become more, rather than less, important over recent years.

But how long can that last? It won't be very long, in the great scheme of things, before there won't be anyone with a personal connection to those who fought or suffered in these wars, and they will become purely of historical interest, much as the Wars of the Roses are to us today. And who seriously mourns the soldiers who lost their lives in that conflict?

It is greatly to be hoped that there will not be a conflict on the scale of World War Two in the foreseeable future.

The advent of nuclear weapons may have been the reason why all the conflicts since the end of the Second World War were contained and didn't spread across the globes.

Korea, Vietnam, the innumerable brushfire wars of Africa and the Middle East were in many cases proxy wars between the West and the Communist Bloc.

And it may be that the nukes played a role in that process.

But they are a dangerous form of peacekeeping, as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the events surrounding Exercise Able Archer in 1983, probably the two occasions when the danger of nuclear war loomed largest, show.

A real attempt at a lasting world peace seems unlikely to succeed, given the number of hot spots across the globe where ethnic, tribal, religious and ideological tensions run riot.

But it is to be hoped that the decrease in violence, as ably documented in Steven Pinker's monumental tome The Better Angels of Our Nature, continues and that our grandchildren, and their grandchildren get to live in a world that becomes at the same time more prosperous and more sustainable.

That should be the real goal that brings people and nations together, and anyone who plays a part in making that future come about will deserve the remembrance of those who succeed them, just as we remember yesterday's soldiers.