the two engines produce about 220 kN in cruise
A single A320 engine (V2527-A5) produces 120 kN at SLC (sea level conditions). Both will be 240 kN. In cruise it will be much less thrust. 25% of that as a ballpark figure.
A solid example: The CF6-80C2B1F of a 747 produces 57,160 lbf at SLC, and 12,820 in cruise (22% of SLC). The thrust is much lower in cruise (less air, less thrust).
In any straight-and-level flight regardless of altitude, thrust = drag. Except if the flight is too slow with a high nose up then some of the thrust counters the weight, but for all intents and purposes, assume they are the same and you won't be wrong.
L/D is not a fixed value too. It changes with speed.
At low altitudes the drag is higher (denser air). In cruise the true airspeed is higher. Lift depends on the true, and not the indicated, airspeed. That's how less thrust can do more lift up there where the air is thin and the plane can reach fast true airspeeds.
The form of velocity applicable to the lift equation is the true airspeed. True airspeed is defined as the actual speed of the aircraft through the air and includes corrections for density, compresibility, and instrumentation error.
The main issue: The pulley system (now removed from question) is a one-body problem, an airplane is a two-body problem (airplane and air). The air does the lifting.