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Kagame (R) with Macron on Thursday in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty

In the new book "Do Not Disturb," Michela Wrong examines the uncomfortable reality of a country and a leader often seen as a remarkable success story: post-genocide Rwanda and its president, Paul Kagame.

The big picture: Kagame is known as the man who stopped Rwanda's 1994 genocide and set the country on the path to rapid economic development.

  • But Wrong delves into the evidence that Kagame may have played a vital role in starting the genocide, by ordering the assassination of former President Juvénal Habyarimana.
  • She takes an unblinking look at the role of Kagame's Rwanda in precipitating two wars in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo while allegedly pillaging the country.
  • And she focuses most of all on what happens to those who dare criticize Kagame, in particular, former head of Rwandan intelligence Patrick Karegeya, assassinated in South Africa in 2013.

Driving the news: French President Emmanuel Macron visited Kigali today to meet Kagame, acknowledge that France bears some responsibility for the 1994 genocide, and restore diplomatic relations.

  • Two leading Rwandan opposition figures accused Macron of skirting any topic that might anger Kagame, writing that for Macron, "there are good dictators and bad dictators."

The bottom line: Wrong makes a compelling case that the image of Kagame as an enlightened leader is based on willful ignorance, manipulated data and the silencing of dissent. 

  • But in describing the recent history of Rwanda and its neighbors — ethnic violence, mass expulsions, political instability — Wrong also offers an indication of why the world was so ready to embrace the "good dictator" who brought stability to Rwanda, whatever his methods may be.

Go deeper

Updated 57 mins ago - Health

White House acknowledges U.S. will miss July 4 vaccination goal

Fireworks in New York City to celebrate the state reaching a 70% vaccination rate. Photo: Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Biden administration acknowledged on Tuesday that it will likely miss its goal of vaccinating 70% of U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4.

Why it matters: Despite falling short of the goal, the White House still believes most Americans will be safe to fully celebrate Independence Day, as COVID-19 cases and deaths remain at low levels throughout much of the country.

Exclusive: Quartz, NYT vets launch new media company about work

Photo credit: Emma Howells for Charter

Quartz co-founders Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf, along with New York Times veteran Erin Grau, are launching a new media and services company called "Charter" that is centered around the future of work, the founders told Axios.

Why it matters: "There are other media companies that write about this topic — some occasionally and some more frequently, but it's one topic among many things that they do," Delaney said. "This is a driving focus for us."

Biden endorses bill to end sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden administration endorsed a bill Tuesday that would end sentencing disparities for crack versus powder cocaine offenses.

The big picture: Supporting the legislation follows through on one of Biden's campaign promises. But it's a shift from decades ago, when Biden spearheaded efforts to pass the legislation that implemented the disparities in the first place.