As military personnel guard public places in Belgium and in France following the recent terror attacks, we look forward to President Obama's State of Union 2015.

The subjects addressed last year were: taxes, infrastructure, executive action, minimum wage, technology, climate change, education, ObamaCare, military actions ("America must move off a permanent war footing"), terrorism, closing Guantanamo Bay, Syria, hopes for a Palestinian state and Iran.


And this year should not be any different, as the U.S. slowly moves toward energy independence and becoming an exporter, but still grapples with the same major issues such as immigration, healthcare, the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, the closure of Guantanamo Bay, the thawing of relations with Cuba, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), amongst others.

Obama's unprecedented unpopularity and disappointment both at home and abroad, despite the improving economic figures (an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, while participation in the labor force is 62.7 percent), translates into the U.S. leading from behind. And many issues are seen to have divided the Americans and their support for the president: 50.3 percent disapprove of how the president is doing his job; 62.2 percent say the country is on the wrong track and 76 percent disapprove with how Congress is doing its job.

All of these subjects have divided and weakened the president and his party politically, as the Republicans gained enough seats to take the Senate and now control both houses, leaving him in a vulnerable position to address the final agenda items of his presidency. But despite this constraint, he has given priority to shaping his legacy before leaving office in 2016 and moved to open up frozen relations with Cuba — to which Russia paid overtures on July 11, 2014.

With the drawdown in motion, the U.S. defense budget will be reduced from $615 billion to $585 billion, with over 15 properties being returned to their owners, a savings of $500 million; but with the annexion of Crimea and the invasion of eastern Ukraine by Russia, the U.S. may have to revise its posture and priorities for pivoting to Asia.

"The US is not going to fight a proxy war in eastern Ukraine," said Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyNew rule shakes up Senate Armed Services subcommittees Biden pledges action on guns amid resistance Sunday shows - Trump acquittal in second impeachment trial reverberates MORE (D-Conn.) on CNN's "State of the Union" show on Sunday. The Ukrainian crisis really brought home the dichotomous viewpoints between the U.S. and the EU on how to deal with Russia's agressive behavior and how to discourage future actions. With an ocean between them, the U.S. (which only does 4 percent of its trade with Russia) did not feel the bite of the sanctions imposed, but the EU was hit hard by the three rounds of sanctions put into place (Russia is its first export market, accounting for 46 percent of its trade).

And we saw a further dissension in the absence of a high-level U.S. representative at the unity march in Paris on Sunday, Jan. 11. The events in Paris have brought a focus on the threats our democratic, open societies face both from the within and outside. The Paris attacks represent the failure of French intelligence, despite the fact that they have good capabilities. Increase intelligence and counterterrorism operations, and build partnerships abroad, says former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday, Jan. 18. Panetta also said that Muslims can better integrate into American society than they can in Europe. He went on to say that European countries should work together to provide good intelligence and security and the U.S. can not do this alone; "we need to work together, as well as with moderate Arab countries that maintain good intelligence." He continued by saying that the U.S. should form a broad coalition against this myriad of threats as we enter into a more aggressive chapter in the war on terrorism.

While in the Philippines over the weekend, Pope Francis said: "One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith."

So in light of this rising asymmetrical threat, how does the U.S. keep ahead? Is a $320 billion tax bill the answer? Probably not. It is essential to bring taxes down and encourage entrepreneurship in face of slowing economic growth (2.6 percent in 2014) in this globalized world, with China being the primary catalyst, contributing 38 percent to global growth, and with the U.S. economy predicted to grow at 3.2 percent. Is trade the answer, in form of the TTIP and TPP part of the answer? With the barrel of oil sliding down below $50 per barrel, and OPEC not cutting production, does this mean that demand is slowing and a recession is around the corner?

Wasylina is the president and founder of the Observatory of the Black, Gulf and Mediterranean Seas.