Turbulent events in Egypt carry disturbing lessons for American foreign policy. First, no amount of foreign aid can make a dysfunctional society stable, prosperous, democratic or reliably pro-American. Since 1979, Egypt has been one of the top recipients of American assistance but that vast investment brought few returns. Second, chaos in Cairo shows the limited value of agreements with corrupt, autocratic governments. If the Mubarak regime collapses, promises to America and the peace treaty with Israel may survive – or may not. When the Shah fled, Iran went from American ally to implacable enemy within months. Deals with dictators don’t often outlast the dictator, so signed papers with authoritarian regimes bring no real security. Israel has always understood military strength remains the only real guarantee of self-defense, not promises from corrupt, shaky regimes like Egypt or the Palestinian Authority.