When Joe Biden said that Barack Obama would likely be confronted with some sort of international crisis within months of assuming office it was widely treated as a gaffe, but it more closely resembled the usual statement the political class regards as a gaffe: an inadvertent piece of truth most people in the ruling class would rather didn't get out. Of course Obama would be challeneged. McCain would have been too.
Few expected, however, that reminders of the messiness of the world outside our borders would come so quickly, long before he even took office, with Russia announcing it would plant some missiles near Poland if the U.S. went ahead with putting anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, Afghan puppet Hamid Karzai trying to break his strings by protesting about the U.S. bombing weddings (the nerve!) and North Korea releasing photos purporting to show that Kim Jong-Il is really alive and well. Heaven knows what will be in the cards when he actually takes office.
OK, those aren't really major crises, and they're not Obama's to deal with yet. But one dubts that the timing was strictly coincidental. Here's the Register's editorial today on some of the things we already knew the new president would have to face: two wars, a financial crisis, a Democratic Congress eager to tax and regulate, and other aftermaths of the years of a dysfunctional administration. He may have little choice but to have a modest agenda and govern "from the center," whatever that means.