International preoccupation with Iraq has eclipsed conflicts and economic and humanitarian disasters just as much in need of resolution. Arguably they are more pressing, given the scale of potential destruction. Yet there seems little chance the world's powers will pay attention with their energies being devoted to deposing Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. While the United States-led military coalition moves on Baghdad, the governments of India, Pakistan, North Korea, Argentina and Ethiopia are immersed in their own battles. The media has been distracted by war and their difficulties are drawing little attention. North Korea's regime is fearful of being next in the American firing line. Named by US President George W. Bush part of an 'axis of evil nations' along with Iraq and Iran, and accused of producing weapons of mass destruction, its leaders are preparing for war. The frequency of air-raid drills has been increased and troops are on heightened alert. Missile tests are planned and US intelligence suggests work is under way on producing nuclear weapons. More than a quarter of North Korea's 22 million people are dependent on international humanitarian aid for survival. Global economic stagnation since the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, has meant a decline in aid donations, and a crisis looms. The Bush administration, its attention on Mr Hussein, has ignored repeated requests from North Korea for dialogue unless the alleged nuclear programme is scrapped. North Korea says it is being threatened and wants a pact of non-aggression. The country is in a quandary and sees military preparedness as its only option. The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, divided after the end of British rule in 1947, is frequently on a knife-edge. Last Wednesday, it flared anew, with the rivals carrying out missile tests within hours of one another. Militants in Indian-ruled Kashmir killed dozens of people in a series of attacks. US Secretary of State Colin Powell and his British counterpart Jack Straw have called on those in power in New Delhi and Islamabad to take steps to reduce tension. Neither side has yet implemented a ceasefire or moved to open dialogue. Argentina is among the nations hardest hit by the economic downturn. Unable to repay more than US$100 billion in debts, it is on the brink of bankruptcy. Political turmoil is worsening and elections on April 27 will not relieve the suffering of its people. Millions of people in the Horn of Africa nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea face starvation from drought. Ethiopia needs more than 1.4 million tonnes of food for up to 12 million affected people; the US has provided more than half. At least 70 per cent of Eritrea's 3.3 million people are also in need of help. Aid agencies have warned conditions are worsening and appealed for more assistance. Iraq must not detract from these potential disasters. The longer the war rages, the more draining it will be to participating nations, who are among the world's leading mediators and humanitarian donors. The war may seem a priority, but it should not dominate the foreign policy considerations of governments.