Even an ill wind usually blows some good to someone. The ill winds of the Middle East War blew some truths our way which have helped us to identify which nations are friends and which are foes.
When the chips were down, the outcome of the war was decided by whether the United States could match the tanks, tank-destroyers, and SAM missiles which the Soviets had shipped to Egypt just before the Yom Kippur invasion. We have 15 NATO allies to whom we have given billions upon billions of dollars in aid during and since World War II.
All we asked of these beneficiaries of American handouts was the right to land and refuel our C-5A cargo planes carrying tanks and anti-tank weapons to Israel. The only country which consented was little Portugal — even though we had conspicuously declined to help Portugal in the past when her own territories were twice invaded, first when India seized Goa, and later when Communist-armed guerrillas invaded Angola.
Russia also needed landing and refueling rights in a European country in order to rush military weapons to be used against Israel. And which country furnished this valuable assistance? None other than the Communist country which has received the most U.S. foreign aid, Yugoslavia. Dictator Tito was even lavishly honored and entertained by President Nixon at the White House just two years ago.
This means that the $2 billion of our tax dollars which we gave to Tito, to try and win him over to our side, are down the drain. The Soviet Union is using Yugoslavia as a major military staging area as well as a supply route to the Middle East.
Incidentally, the C-5A, much maligned for its earlier cost overruns and fatigue problems, proved its worth in our airlift to Israel. C-5As carried almost half the tonnage we sent to Israel.
Dr. Joseph Luns, the secretary general of NATO, has now charged that Brezhnev clearly violated the agreement he signed with the United States in Washington only last June because he knew in advance of the Arabs’ attack, and failed to stop them, or to warn us. Brezhnev even supplied the weapons and had the replacement weapons en route before the attack began
The Middle East War has proved very educational in that it demonstrated that Soviet dictator Brezhnev still obeys Lenin’s commandment that “Promises are like pie crusts, made to be broken.” Based on Brezhnev’s broken-treaty track record. Las Vegas oddsmaker, Jimmy the Greek, should offer one-to-ten odds that Brezhnev will break any agreement he signs with the United States. We hope our State Department has learned the obvious lessons.