The current makeup of the Security Council of the United Nations was formed on October 24, 1945. One of the principal departments of the United Nations is the Security Council. The council consists of fifteen members, five of which are permanent members. The other ten members are selected for a two-year term on a regional basis. The five permanent members are the United States, Great Britain, France, China, and the then Soviet Union, now Russia. These permanent members were the coalition that defeated Japan, Germany and Italy in World War Two. In 1945, these were the world’s global powers, but this is towards the end of 2023, and the world’s balance of power has shifted. What was true in 1945 in no longer true today. If the United Nations is to stay relevant, then the make-up of the permanent members needs to be updated. Some new members would be added, some current members would lose their permanent status.
The United States, Russia and China should remain as permanent members of the UN Security Council. The United Kingdom, and France are no longer the world powers that they were in 1945. To ensure Europe’s commitment to the UN, the European Union should be given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The other nation to be given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council should be India.
The World Balance of Power in 1945
At the end of World War Two, both France and the United Kingdom were considered global colonial powers.
France had been occupied by the Germans during most of the war, but her colonies in Southeast Asia had cooperated with the Japanese during the war, and so were relatively unscathed.
The colonies of the United Kingdom had been occupied by the Japanese during the war, and the destruction had been extensive, with the exception of India.
During the Cold War, the United States found it politically necessary to maintain the “fiction” that France and the United Kingdom were global powers, when the reach of these countries had been curtailed to the extent, that in reality they were at best regional powers. But the Cold War is over, and to maintain this fiction is to deny the current realities of the current global balance of power.
The World Balance of Power in 2023
Today, France is a major regional power in Europe, and with the exception of the United States, the dominant power in the Mediterranean. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in speeches beginning in 2007, that there was a need for what he called a “Mediterranean Union.” Part of France’s turn to develop its power in the Mediterranean was to re-balance its position in the European Union vis a vis Germany.
Since 2007, France has taken on more of a leadership role in the Mediterranean. In September of 2020, France dispatched the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, along with other French warships, to the eastern Mediterranean to calm tensions related to the Turkish drill ships in the exclusive economic zone of Greece and Cyprus.
But France does not have the power to do this globally. To ensure European global interests at the highest level, the French seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, should be given to the European Union.
While England had emerged victorious at the end of World War Two, England had been economically devastated, and soon her overseas possessions were given independence. The crown jewel of Britain’s Empire, India, achieved independence on the fifteenth of August 1947. The failure of the French-Anglo intervention in the Suez Crisis, laid bare the limit to their power, and the world realization that neither France, nor England were world powers any longer. As stated before, it was in the national security interests of the United States to maintain the fiction that France and England were both still world powers. That fiction is no longer necessary.
Since World War Two, beginning in 1947, England has lost her colonial empire. While the British Commonwealth has taken the place of the empire, the Commonwealth is a pale shadow compared to the empire of old.
To be sure, England still ranks as the fifth most powerful military in the world, and its GDP of 2.27 trillion pounds in 2022 is roughly $2.8 trillion in 2022. At the same time her global reach is in decline.
India’s naval strength is far superior to that of the current English Navy. The Indian navy consists of two fleet aircraft carriers, one amphib transport dock, ten tank landing ships, ten fleet destroyers, eleven frigates, two nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines, seventeen conventional powered submarines, twelve corvettes, eight landing craft facilities, and twenty auxiliary vessels.
India has the largest standing army in the world with 1,237,117 personnel on active duty, with 960,000 personnel in reserve. India has some 1,926 aircraft in the Indian Air Force. India is a nuclear power with an estimated 164 nuclear weapons.
India’s population is 1.4 billion people, with a rising middle class. Economists estimate that the percentage of people living below the poverty line is below 19 percent. India’s population educational levels are rising, indicating a firm basis for economic growth.
In short, based on power rankings, population growth, increasing education levels, as well as an expanding economy, India today is a global power. She fills all of the requirements for not only great power status, but a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.