Since the last State of the Union address, the Iraq war has been re-launched. But guess what the biggest threat to future generations of the world is according to Obama? Climate change. Yes. Not the largest growth of terrorism and chaos the Middle East has ever seen, but the previously unacknowledged, and already way beyond our capacity to deal with future of environmental collapse. Maybe Obama would like to resurrect the Kyoto protocol, fight conservative business interests in the US over carbon footprints and the end of seed monopoly and agriculture lobby? Seeing how his campaign for universal health care went down with the Republicans, a climate change policy might just push them over the edge. But this is just a smokescreen. Though climate change is indeed an issue, the President has tried to sidestep the setbacks in foreign policy that have accumulated in the Middle East, Moscow and Iran.

Obama’s strongest foreign achievement in 2014 has been to normalise relations with Cuba, though, congressional Republicans remain a thorn in his side and vow opposition. Domestic opposition to closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility is growing. The Congress is eager to destroy any nuclear deal Obama might reach with Iran, and for some reason, Obama is resisting the demands of the lawmakers even when a deal seems elusive. His foreign policy is not working and his house is divided, that is the state of the Union.

Obama’s speech was not in line with the realities that his administration is facing. It seems he forgot that the speech is not just meant for the American population, it has an international audience now tuned. While Obama claimed the US-led coalition is “stopping [the Islamic State’s] advance” in Iraq and Syria, Pentagon officials said that Isis is gaining territory in Syria, while it consolidates its uncontested control of major Iraqi cities like Mosul and Fallujah. Pakistan did get an honourable mention though, and in the same breath he lamented the killings in Paris. Formality fulfilled.

Obama praised his “smarter” approach to foreign policy using the words “persistent, steady resolve”. Just words, and not very inspiring ones either.