The theory of “soft balancing” deals with the actions and interactions among states that is different from traditional balancing theories. The former features a belief that states achieve balances among themselves in indirect and covert ways under uncertain threats and interests pegged with other states. During the past few years, the theory of soft balancing has gradually gained prominence in academic circles of international relations. Researchers not only apply the theory while interpreting actual cases, but also have commented and debated extensively with regard to its contents. This article explores contents of the theory by reviewing arguments in existing studies. The various balancing tactics are divided or combined to reflect the overall development status of the theory at present and clarify contents in question. Hopefully, it will help to promote more advanced studies in the future.
In international relations, some theories explain international cooperation almost solely based on sovereign states and a presumed approach of rational choice. However, these hypotheses assume a state-actor, as a rational unit, will meet some unforeseen challenges, thus we need a non-state actor as another variable. Furthermore, an institutional structure of neo- realism’s and neo-liberalism’s hypothesis do not fully illustrate how international cooperation occurs in the real world. So we adopt both the cognitive ..
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