Drawing on insights and evidence from the social sciences (as well as natural sciences and more recently engineering), lateral pressure theory can be understood in terms of its basics assumptions, its components and their interconnections. The key features, highlighted below, signal some of the most important departures from conventional theory in international relations.

1. Systems of Interaction
2. Levels of Analysis
3. Individuals and Aggregates
4. Demands and Capabilities
5. Master Variables
6. State Profiles
7. Lateral Pressure Index
8. Expansion and Intersection
9. Governance and Government
10. Corporate Behavior and Non-State Actors
11. International Relations
12. The Global System