"John McCain's foreign policy aide during his presidential campaign, Randy Scheunemann, is now advising McCain's running mate Sarah Palin and accompanied her on her recent trip to China.
Palin delivered a paid speech in Hong Kong at a conference hosted by the brokerage house CLSA last week, and Scheunemann's presence "offers a clue as to who in the McCain orbit has survived a bitter set of post-campaign recriminations," Politico.com's Ben Smith observed.
Scheunemann, a former national security adviser for Sen. Trent Lott, has been a vocal critic of the Barack Obama administration, and recently called Obama's decision not to erect a missile shield in Eastern Europe a "concession" to Russia.
An early supporter of the Iraq war, he is prominent in the Republican Party's "hawkish, internationalist, neoconservative wing," Smith writes, "and his place beside Palin also offers a bit of a clue as to the direction in which her vaguely defined foreign policy views are likely to develop."
In her Hong Kong speech, Palin — who resigned as Alaska's governor in July — argued for smaller government, calling for lower taxes and a private-sector solution to healthcare.
She also criticized China on several points, saying the country "provides support for some of the most questionable regimes from Sudan to Burma to Zimbabwe."
She added that the U.S. needs "China to improve the rule of law and protect intellectual property."
The speech was Palin's first major address outside North America."
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