One example of this is the "famous egg box metaphor of international society (in which states were the eggs, and international society the box), one might see this unevenness as a pan of fried eggs. Although nearly all the states in the system belong to a thin, pluralist interstate society (the layer of egg-white), there are sub-global and/or regional clusters sitting on that common substrate that are both much more thickly developed than the global common, and up to a point developed separately and in different ways from each other (the yolks)" (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6).
For example the EU and North America, for example are "sub-global interstate societies that are more thickly developed within themselves. Lesser attempts to create thicker, liberal, regional interstate/international societies by cultivating joint economic development can be found in...various other regional economic cooperations," such as OPEC (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6). "Above some of these regional efforts one can find larger, looser, thinner, versions of the same thing labeled the 'West' or the 'Atlantic Community'" (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6).
Shared values and an investment in the order is not homogenous, as in the case of the varying surface of an egg, but it is cohesive, and there is an interest in maintaining that the egg does not fracture, because all of the 'egg' must remain intact. The multiplicity of often uncomfortable identities that make up the international system, however, is not unlike that of how the actors, or nation states, function. For example, all human beings, regardless of their national, religious and local identities have a variety of individual personas or identity they hold simultaneously, "the question is how the patterns of distribution overlap, and which takes priority as a mobilizer or legitimator of political action. Some identities will fit inside others, like Russian dolls (e.g. Danish, within Scandinavian, within European, within Western), whereas others may be relatively diffuse, and have complicated patterns of overlap" (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6).
Conflict is generated quite often when these identities overlap, like a person who is 'both' Russian and from the region Chechnya, or a Saudi who is both of the Middle East, a member of OPEC, yet who also strives to be an accepted and legitimate part of the United Nations. But there still is a common investment and 'center' that holds all of these identities together, within a nation, and within the international community. Subglobal level identities exist on "the interstate and interhuman domains and perhaps in the transnational one," even though the "diplomatic and political structure of global international society, and the regimes and institutions of the global economy, are altogether more substantial than either the faint glow of shared identity as humankind or the distant prospect of a pure transnational society" (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6).
The economic alliances of international community and subglobal regional organizations are often thicker, or more obviously cohesive than international institutions such as the UN that exist on the global level but are also sometimes thicker than national alliances. "The whole framework of interstate, interhuman and transnational societies needs to be understood as the interplay between subglobal and global levels" (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6). There are three levels which must be understood: "The first concerns the relationship between the interstate and nonstate domains within any particular instance of subglobal/regional level international social structure; the second concerns the interplay between the social structures at the regional or subglobal level and those at the global one; and the third concerns the interplay between and among different social structures at the regional/subglobal level" (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6).
At every level stands a community that possesses a unique character and creates a fundamental block of order that may facilitate conflict or create an alliance with another group. "Where community and society occupy the same space, as in a classical nation-state, the element of identity...play a crucial role in balancing some of the divisive effects of society and politics...but where identity and society are not in the same space, as in the contemporary problem...of globalization...Thinking in this vein supports the English school case that the existence of community facilitates the formation of a second order society of states" (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2005: 6).
Within these spheres of overlap there is also a possibility to cement as well as destabilize a nation and a world. An American of Jewish origin may support the existence of Israel, for example, and draw attention to the plight of the Middle East, stimulating interest in this region of the world within his or her own nation. An economic alliance between two corporations generates a community, and a mutual interest in regional stability, as well as an opportunity of human beings working in a foreign land to better understand another culture. The potential for community ties thus is just as great as the potential of non-state communities to strain the borders of nations and to influence national politics -- and thus, the 'center' does 'hold.'
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