1. Are you going to cut off your nose to spite your face? That is what some are going to do. The "strings" that you mention are hardly iron wires, but more like silk threads. Easily borken, and only pie crust promises to start with (how many times have we seen a thug make promises to get aid, only to break it when they turn around?).
man this is gonna be a lengthy reply. Sorry ahead of time!
This aid often has much more benefit for the donor than the recipient. Let's look at how this has gone down many, many times in the past:
Donor nation (that's us) goes to poor nation with offer of 45 billion dollars. However, donor nation will not give the money to the poor nation unless the poor nation passes laws that de-nationalize most of it's public owned companies. This means electrical, water, phone, rail, airports, mines etc. Also, donor nation will not give aid to the recipient unless recipient agrees to little or no tax on foreign companies, and change their laws so that foreign companies can come and go as they please (this means they can take their profits out of the country)
Recipient country makes changes that are demanded of them, then get their big chunk of change. Most of this money, they are told, is needed to "develop" their country. They have been told in advance that in order to join the big boys of the 21st century they need more power generation, better airports, and maybe a couple of big spa resorts (or mines, whatever).
Recipient nation takes this money that was loaned to it, and gives a big chunk of it to big engineering firms located in the donor nation. These are companies like Bechtel, Fluor, Halliburton, etc. These big companies come in and do do the job as promised to build facilities and infrastructure and they are paid handsomely to do it. The remainder of this money quite often will go to buy some shiny toys for the military (also purchased from companies in the donor nation) and then of course some gets spread around the top levels of leadership in the recipient nation (this is corruption, gotta love it)
Still with me? Good. So, now we have a poor country with a big shiny new airport/electrical grid or mine. And, tens of billions of dollars of debt they now have to pay back (the money basically left the donor nation but then returned through different channels. But recipient still has to pay it back) The theory is that with this new development suddenly the country will start raking in massive profits to repay the debt. What actually happens is quite different. Remember all those strings attached to get the aid in the first place? Now foreign companies start moving in and buying up all the industries that were formerly publicly owned. Again, big companies like Bechtel and Fluor move in and buy the water system, the heating company, just about anything that isn't bolted down. Sounds good, only the nation also passed laws allowing foreign companies to move their money as they please. This means the money that these companies make doesn't stay in the local economy, it all gets carted back overseas (to the donor nation) as well.
Recipient still has to pay back all that money though. In order to make just the interest payments on it, they have to cut their spending to the bone. Social programs, welfare, retirement pensions all of that gets cut. Large sums of their taxpayer dollars (most of which is produced locally, remember they had to cut their taxes on foreign business earler) has to go to pay for a debt that was spent on foreign companies, that other foreign companies are now profiting form. In fact the only thing that stays the same or increases is military spending, as all those foreign companies now buying up the country like to have protection and there's lots of ordinary people now unhappy that their country is crumbling around them while they've been cut out of the picture. Quite often the recipient nation will still be unable to make payments, so donor nation says "no problem.... we've always wanted an air base/naval port in that part of the world you know" that, or they want further privatizations like the oil company, etc.
So, to summarize the kind of "aid" we're giving them, it's that only in name. In reality the aid is a temporary influx of money or material that only stays in country for a very short period of time, the fruits of which profit our companies while the recipient nation still has to foot the bill. It means big profits for our companies and big misery for the average person living in these countries as they watch what little national pride that does exist get bought up by big foreign business at fire sale prices.
One such real world example happened in Bolivia. Bechtel (big company in the U.S) purchased the water company, and promptly increased their rates so that basic access to water cost 25 % of the average monthly income. In a dirt poor country like this, the people simply couldn't pay. In this case, the company was too greedy and crossed a line- in response the people literally shut down the capitol and rioted in the streets. The government was so terrified of being ousted that they forced Bechtel out of the country and set water rates to something that people could afford. You know, so they could drink and all.
So when you ask why people see America as big and bad, it's quite often because of examples like what happened in Bolivia. The people there remember all too well the time that they couldn't have access to potable water because an American company took over and charged unaffordable rates.
Part two of my response to come!