The Islamic State terror group and similar violent jihadist movements are an even greater threat to world order than communism was during the Cold War, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said.

In a speech to the Sydney Institute on Monday night, Ms Bishop said the so-called Islamic State and the ideology behind it tore up the rules of nation-states that had helped moderate international conflicts for centuries.

Ms Bishop suggested the ideology of the Islamic State – also known as ISIL and Da’esh – was the worst the world had seen since the Nazis. She said the virulent new form of international terrorism that the group represented posed a “real threat to the … system of the nation-state”.

It was “the most significant threat to the global, rules-based order to emerge in the past 70 years”, she said, adding that this included “the rise of communism and the Cold War”.

“Over the past two years we have seen the emergence of a terrorist organisation backed by an ideology the likes of which we have not seen since World War II,” she said.

This borderless group was building “increasingly sophisticated transnational networks that would rival a multinational corporation” and used the most modern technology and weapons while also using social media and the internet with “all the dexterity and understanding of an enterprising entrepreneur”.

As such, it was a threat to the Westphalian system of nation-states, which was created nearly 400 years ago in Europe at the end of the Thirty Years’ War and established the principle that each country had sovereignty over its territory and affairs.

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