Why are there only 5 permanent seats on the UN Security Council?

Barack Obama chairs a United Nations Security Council meeting
Credit: White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

United Nations is an international organization of nations. It was created to ensure an environment of mutual cooperation, maintaining security, economic development, social progress and human rights in the international arena. Fifty-one states sign a charter to create the United Nations, on 24 October 1945. At the end of World War II, the Allied forces were encouraged to establish the United Nations in order to prevent war and conflicts later on. Various steps were taken to create an effective international organization. The United Nations was established on the debris of the League of Nations. The United States’ President Franklin Roosevelt was the founder of the United Nations. The United Nations is a political organization. The UN has currently 193 member states.

The number of total members of the United Nations Security Council is Fifteen. Five of those members are permanent and rest of the ten temporary. permanent members have the ability to veto resolutions of the Security Council, the inclusion of new members and the appointment of the Secretary-General of the UN.

It is a pragmatic solution to international problems. Think of a UN security council consists of nearly 200 states and each of them has a veto power. It will be nearly impossible for all of them to reach an agreement regarding a serious international matter as the security council will always be dysfunctional and no resolution would pass through the council.

UN security council was designed to work out differences between major international powers through discussion. It is better to address international issues through discussion in a table than starting a fight among great powers because no international issues can be solved peacefully without the agreement and consent of major international powers. This is why the most powerful countries in the world have their seats in the UN security council except for Japan and Germany. When the UN was established after the end of the Second World War, both Japan and Germany were defeated and they had no say in the newly established international order.