A pressing question in international relations (IR) theory today is how to overcome its Western-centric character. Recent articulations of a non- or post-Western IR theory offer a significant step forward; nonetheless, a Westernmade critical method still prevents scholars from going beyond the West in a geographical and intellectual sense. This paper makes a modest proposal to compare inter-civilsational ideas, rather than theoretically de-centring IR in the West. Here, the conception of a “road” may provide a useful underpinning as a type of infrastructure, a normative concept and a cultural praxis. The “road” as a system may also provide a framework for integrating all three functions.