Yes, I agree, after that passage that Aleksey quoted, there's no real need to read anything more of my post. It is the center of the whole issue - for me at least.
I would answer this last question this way: Aikido is not lacking. The art, as a system, is alive and well and fully participating in the Shu-Ha-Ri methodology of training all over the world. That said, the lack or the negative side of which we are all hinting at in one form or another, is present. It's only that I believe this lack to be present at an individual level (great as that may be). I remember a quote by (I think) Ikeda Hiroshi Sensei that went something like this - it was a response to the question or the doubt over whether Aikido "works" or not: "Aikido works. It's just your Aikido that does not work."
I like the spirit of this quote. Why? Because it keeps both blame and responsibility in the tangible arena of the self (the pesonal self). If Aikido is broke - then it is your (our individual) Aikido that is broke. So get to work, and fix it. One by one, every art lives or dies.
I have trained in other arts over the years, and been exposed to countless others, and I have to say that this "dilemma" is something that truly abounds in every system - whether one divides that into a martial art or a self-defense system or not. And most likely this has always been the case all along, particulary because he/she that is able to transcend both Shu and Ha, and actually reconcile with Ri, is rare indeed. Outside of that, prior to that, everything is fake and weak by one standard or another. The positive side of this, is that on the other side of Ri, everything is legit and powerful. All of this is an individual thing. So let's keep it that way - in my opinion. :-)