He rejects Bush's 'global war on terror' as too absolutist. But a top adviser says Obama will 'confront Al Qaeda aggressively wherever it exists.'
The targeting of the Pakistan Taliban leader showed US willingness to pursue Pakistani priorities. The US may now push for more help in finding Pakistan-based militants who operate in Afghanistan.
Without the charismatic Baitullah Mehsud, feuding Islamist militants could splinter.
The probable death of Baitullah Mehsud, a militant leader with thousands of followers, could reduce terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The impact on the war in Afghanistan is less certain.
A new code of conduct had urged fighters to avoid civilian deaths.
US and Pakistani forces have been homing in on Baitullah Mehsud with missile attacks on his stronghold in South Waziristan.
US counterinsurgency strategy must take account of Pashto-Islamist justice.
New NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussmen called for more European troops as violence in once-calm west and north complicate preparations for Aug. 20 elections.