I've been thinking a lot recently about the changing nature of power in the emerging geostrategic landscape, and one theme that I find myself returning to repeatedly is that of hub states. The idea being that in an increasingly integrated world, the best way to advance strategic interests is to maximize connectedness. But although connectedness is in itself valuable, some kinds of connectedness are more strategically valuable than others. So the key is to be a node that is highly integrated not just within the network, but within the right parts of the network.
Now, like the old gag about the key to a successful restaurant, there are four main ways that states can achieve that more-valuable kind of connectedness: location, location, location . . . and policy. Obviously, being blessed with a geographically central or strategic location is key. But making connectedness, as opposed to confrontation, a policy priority is as essential.
The obvious example here is Turkey, whose first step toward its newfound regional prominence began with a shift in its own self-perception, from bridge between East and West, to central hub around which East and West revolved. From that emerged Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's "zero problems with neighbors" policy, without which it would have been impossible to capitalize on the country's strategic centrality.