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FROM THIS EPISODE

A major second-term challenge for President Obama is ending the war in Afghanistan. What are America's goals beyond troop withdrawal by 2014?  What's the future of a country embroiled in violence for the past 30 years? Also, President Obama goes on the fiscal cliff campaign trail, and "Happy Birthday" on Facebook has been replaced with "Give a Gift." We hear what that could mean for Facebook’s users and its investors.

Banner image: US Army Sgt. William Russell (R) speaks with a local merchant during a key leader meeting in Farah City, Afghanistan, November 20, 2012. US Navy Photo by Chief Petty Officer Josh Ives

Producers:
Caitlin Shamberg
Christian Bordal
Evan George

Main Topic What's the Plan for Afghanistan? 36 MIN, 15 SEC

America's longest war is winding down, but it's not over yet, and there are as many unresolved issues as there are parties involved. The White House and the Pentagon haven't agreed on the pace of troop withdrawal or how many US soldiers should stay after 2014. Talks with the Karzai regime and the Taliban raise more questions than answers about security and corruption. Will a wildly inflated economy collapse when foreign troops and contractors are gone? Will democracy, free expression and human rights have a future?

Guests:
Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal (@julianbarnes )
Alissa Johannsen Rubin, New York Times (@alissanyt)
Christine Fair, Georgetown University (@CChristineFair)
Sarah Chayes, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (@CarnegieEndow)
Stephen Biddle, Council on Foreign Relations

Reporter's Notebook Can Facebook Cash in on Its Billion Birthdays? 8 MIN, 19 SEC

Cyber Monday might have been a chance for Facebook to start making big money, not with a holiday gimmick but one that will last all year. With more than a billion users, Facebook has always provided a box called "Happy Birthday." Clicking it to send a greeting was free. Now, for some users, the box has been replaced with "Give a Gift," and clicking it could cost you money. Ellis Hamburger reports on Facebook and other social media services for TheVerge.com.

Guests:
Ellis Hamburger, The Verge (@hamburger)

Making News Obama on the Fiscal Cliff Campaign Trail 7 MIN, 40 SEC

Recently elected, President Obama has begun a new campaign, asking Americans to pressure Congress directly to pass his tax plan. "Tell members of Congress what a $2000 tax hike would mean to you. Call your members of Congress; write them an e-mail; post it on their Facebook walls… You can tweet it using #My2k." David Nakamura is following the story for the Washington Post.

Guests:
David Nakamura, Washington Post (@davidnakamura)

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