Serious new concerns for new administration
Then-Sen. Joe Biden lived up to his reputation by spouting off during the campaign that if elected, Barack Obama would almost certainly be tested by a challenge from some foreign power.
Now vice president, Biden should be forgiven for stating the obvious, even though he gave his political handlers fits at the time.
While the new president's attention is focused on the economy, the rest of the world can't be ignored.
The latest sign came Monday, when Iran marked the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution there by launching a "data processing" satellite into orbit.
The launch is probably timed to give a group of other nations -- the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France and Germany -- something to talk about when they meet in Frankfurt, Germany, to discuss Iran on Wednesday.
Next door to Iran, in Pakistan, Islamic fundamentalists are calling for the government to cut ties with the United States in conducting the "war on terror," a term the new administration seems to be abandoning.
Pakistan's government is weak, but Obama has pledged to send more troops to Afghanistan to wipe out terrorists, many of whom hide out across the border in tribal areas of Pakistan.
Travel across China to North Korea, and "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il has not been seen in public, except in posed photos, since he reportedly suffered a stroke or two. The country, however, has no clear line of succession, and there are signs few decisions have been made while Kim has been incapacitated.
All three countries -- Iran, Pakistan and North Korea -- could be put on the back burner if not for the fact all three have nuclear weapons or at least nuclear ambitions. Iran's new rocket capabilities are especially concerning.
Let's hope the challenge predicted by the vice president is delayed as long as possible.