THERE is nothing Russia likes less than to be treated as a second-rate power.
And nowhere does Moscow have so many opportunities to try to prove that it is more than a has-been than in Iraq, its old client-state.
So when Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev managed to exercise his influence over Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the week of Oct. 10, extracting a pledge from Baghdad to recognize Kuwaiti sovereignty, he rather hoped that the world would pat him on the back.
Instead he got the cold shoulder, as Western diplomats played down the significance of Saddam's promise. "Words are cheap," US ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright …