Some interesting stuff in there. I think the core of this goes well beyond the original topic. However I believe it is one of the most important things to talk about when speaking of Aikido. And I would love to see more of this kind of discussion here on AikiWeb!
I see what you are saying, as the original topic was: the Japanese, Aikido, word for leading. Guess what I was trying to indicate via that link is that perhaps "leading" maybe the wrong word to look for/use, in the context of Aikido.
Recently, I received some correspondence from someone in Bern in response to one of my recent poems. He reminded me (and I paraphrase!.... all misunderstandings are, of course, mine), that according to O'Sensei: "in aikido there is no opponent or enemy, there is not even a practice partner." Also: "O'Sensei said clearly, even before the war, that aiki is a budo of oneness, so harmonizing blending redirecting force are dualistic and thus actually anti-aiki, entering is to enter into Mind, before the uke even thinks of moving-attacking, so entering calls out the movement of the uke, it does not re-direct it....this is an aspect of saki no saki no saki being in advance, not looking......" (For "saki...", I am more used to the term sen sen no sen).
I am reminded of the old saying that a sculptor, when faced with a block of stone, does not actually chisel out a statue from the stone, but, instead, just removes the excess stone to reveal the statue that was already there. Extending this analogy to Aikido, nage does not "lead" uke's attack, but, rather, as part of the whole, "chisels" out the correct approach/response based on uke's intent. Make sense? Though I gotta admit, this skill is beyond me.
In good practice.....Jim