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Odd Arne Westad was born in 1960 in Alesund, Norway, and raised by working-class parents. Westad graduated from the University of Oslo with a degree in history, philosophy and modern languages before earning a doctorate in international history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 2004 to 2008 Westad was head of London School of Economics and Political Science's (LSE) Department of International History, and in 2008 cofounded LSE IDEAS, a center for international affairs, diplomacy and strategy. Westad argues that the intervention of superpowers across the Third World during the Cold War continues to have a destabilizing effect on international affairs today. Westad traces the reasons for intervention to the aftermath of World War II, which brought about the military and ideological defeat of the radical, right-wing political theories of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.