During the recent furor about Cyprus, NEWSWEEK Magazine quoted Henry Kissinger as saying about President Ford: “He doesn’t know what it’s all about.” Those words sounded harsh at the time, but they accurately express the way President Ford played out his role on the world stage at Vladivostok.
Since President Ford played in the Rose Bowl and is an expert on football, let’s help him to understand, by a football analogy, just what he conceded to Brezhnev.
Let’s assume that the coach of a grade school football team agrees with the coach of a top professional football team to play a match game, and proudly announces that their agreement calls for “equality” in the number of players permitted on the squads of both teams. Somehow, however, the coaches never discuss the weight of the players, their throwing power, and the fact that a professional can disable or knock out any eighth grader, but there is no reciprocal capability.
The grade school coach further agrees that he will make no effort to replace any boy on his offensive squad with a bigger player, but that the professional team can continue its customary policy of always replacing its present m n with the most powerful players it can recruit.
For defense, the grade school coach agrees to respect a previous demand that his team will defend only a small piece of the sideline, but that the professional team will defend its goal line. The grade school coach further agrees that his team will practice all its football plays on an open field where anyone can come and watch, but that the professional team will continue to practice on a secret field, be hind a high fence, well guarded by the tightest security.
Then the grade school newspaper proudly announces that its team has achieved “equality” with the professionals and that the coach is returning in triumph.”
If such an unlikely event ever happened, the press would rightly treat it as a charade having no relation to reality. Yet, this is substantially what President Ford agreed to at Vladivostok. His claim of equality in numbers completely ignores the Soviet superiority in missile throw-weight, conceded by all to be at least 4-to-1. It completely ignores the Soviet superiority in missile megatonnage, conceded by all to be at least 10-to-1.
The Vladivostok agreement paid no attention to the fact that the gigantic Soviet missiles can destroy our missiles in their silos, but our smaller missiles and MIRVs have no capability to destroy theirs. For the defensive lineup, we are limited to one ABM site in North Dakota, while the Soviet ABM site at Moscow defends twice as many missiles, plus their capital city with seven million people, and great industrial, scientific, and governmental complexes.
Finally, there is no provision whatsoever for on-site inspection. The Soviets simply will not tolerate it. Satellite surveillance cannot detect MIRVs within a missile, reloads, or the deployment of mobile missiles.
If President Ford and Dr. Kissinger are expecting the American people to fall for such phony “equality” with the Soviets, they are misjudging the intelligence of the American people.