It should come as no surprise that the next steps in lateral pressure theory and quantitative analysis amount largely to connecting the dots, closing the loops, and addressing critical imperatives of the 21st century. Quantitative analysis will follow this general trajectory as we began to appreciate the implications of the constructed domain, the endogenization of the environment, the salience of sustainability and, increasingly, the inevitable imperatives of cybersecurity.
In many ways these figures signal a major new challenge for international relations theory and policy. These figures display some notable “spillover effects” across the three domains. The next challenge is to gain better understanding of (a) the dynamics of lateral pressure in each of the three domains, (b) the ramifications for the international system as a whole in terms of conflict and cooperation; (c) the internal effects (if any) of the forgoing of lateral pressure and attendant ramifications, (d) the impacts of and for state-firm interactions and, to the extent possible, (e) assessments of system sustainability at all four levels of analysis and across the three domains of interaction – the human system, cyberspace, and the natural environment.