Interactions in cyberspace have shifted the balance of power among different actors, including the traditional state powers, and enabled weaker actors to influence or even threaten stronger actors (such as press reports of anonymous penetration-incidences of the US government computer systems). This sort of shift has little precedence in world politics. We might view this as the emergence of new symmetries. However framed, we are witnessing a potentially powerful shift in the nature of the game, especially when the actors are state-based as well as non-state entities. The increased influence of the latter may well undermine the sanctity of sovereignty as the defining principle for the international system. The forgoing calls into question that the effectiveness of traditional policy tools and responses crafted to deal with state-to-state interactions in a geopolitical world -- with known threat-actors and an arsenal of expected diplomatic or military responses – remains unclear.
One of the most important effects of cyberspace for empirical analysis of lateral pressure theory analysis is the creation of a new arena of interaction characterized by its own and distinctive its dynamic as well as the spillover effects on the other domains of interaction, the geopolitical (social) and the environmental (nature and its life supporting properties). Figure below illustrates in stylistic but realistic fashion the types of spillover effects. The figure presents some notional conditions, but the record to date would readily support many of the observations.
Systems of interaction – illustrating the security dimensions
This figure points to a somewhat distinct proposition, namely that human security cannot be reduced to security within the geopolitical domain alone. Not only must security prevail in the cyber domain and the natural environment, but also spillover effects from less-than-secure conditions are integral to any security calculation.