The U.S. Thursday endorsed France's call to lift limits on Iraq's oil-for-food sales, but it remains opposed to the proposed replacing of UNSCOM with a financial monitoring system. Dowell points out that even the existing oil-sales limit amounts to more oil than Baghdad is currently able to produce. "It won't mean much unless Iraq can import machinery to upgrade its oil production, which is forbidden under current sanctions," says Dowell. While France believes sanctions are ineffective and exacting a brutal toll on the Iraqi people, Washington sees them as essential to contain Saddam. "But without a comprehensive Iraq strategy, Washington faces the danger that the current impasse causes an informal collapse of sanctions," says Dowell. "That would be a significant erosion of U.S. global leadership."