The main purpose of this paper is to parse out the development and evolution of causal mechanism and to further evaluate how political research adopts the method of causal mechanism to explain and discuss the explanatory effect in the field of qualitative methods. Our focus is to shed light on the causal mechanism of democratic peace theory in the field of international relations and to gauge its advantages and restraints. On the dimension of causal mechanism, this paper focuses on the definition of mechanism, observation of causal mechanism, the difference between causal mechanism, causality, laws and intervening variables, level of analysis, operationalization and measurement of causal mechanism, and roadmap of causal mechanism. This paper applies the analysis of causal mechanism to the origin and evolution of democratic peace theory, the challenges of realism over democratic peace theory, and the responses from democratic peace theory. Finally, we offer an alternative explanation to the debate between democratic peace theory and realism.
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 al..
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