Shrug. "Aiki" as a concept in Japanese martial arts well-predates aikido. There doesn't seem to be any doubt Ueshiba had some things in mind during his teaching, but "aiki" as a description of a type of waza is well established. Still, some of the parsing strikes me as reminiscent of arguments about what the pleats in a hakama "mean" - an odd question since that form of trousers far predates the principles typically bandied about. Sometimes, it's just pants.
I agree with your point that this is a lot like the pleat argument. It is an awful like many arguments where people want or need to establish claim to something. Why? I don't know.
The arts are here to be practiced, no matter what we call them.