Why were the situations in Korea and Cuba so significant in relation to the Cold War competition between USSR and the U.S.?

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Since the information Cuba is more available, let me speak on Korea a bit. First, what we are taking about is South Korea, since the US troops are stationed there. In fact, some of my good friends are there now. The significance of this is because during the cold war, China was allied with Russia. North Korea was also allied with them as well. So, in that region, there were very few democratic states that were with the US. To have a base of operation in that area, therefore, was important, even vital. In this sense, South Korea was a holding point against the spread of communism. Of course, things are changing a bit now.

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