Abstract. There is substantial experimental evidence that simple diffusive models for turbulent transport are insufficient to produce all the confinement phenomena observed in tokamaks. This paper reports on the emerging linkage between rapid, nonlocal, nondiffusive transport and overall confinement phenomenology including edge pedestals, enhanced confinement, ELMs, and internal transport barriers. Modern statistical physics techniques are used to construct simple models that generate many of the distinctive elements of global tokamak confinement phenomenology. The similarities are deep and are quantified. These results imply that current observations of avalanching transport in tokamaks may be deeply linked to the fundamental global features of tokamak plasma confinement.