President Obama came to office in 2009 with a grand plan to reshape U.S. foreign relations through outreach to hostile governments.
In his first term, his overtures to Iran, Russia, Syria, North Korea and others produced limited payoff.
But with his decision to restore diplomatic ties to Cuba, Obama has doubled down on "engagement" and his belief that by opening up to adversaries, rather than isolating them, the United States can sweep away obstacles from years of conflict and move authoritarian states toward Western-style freedoms.
The initiative will open Cuba "in ways that it hasn't been before," Obama said at a news conference Friday. "Over...